Research finds 70% drop in employment tribunals

The Citizens Advice Bureau has recently published research revealing a 70% decrease in the number of disputes reaching the employment tribunal courts as employees are deterred by newly introduced fees.

Employers should beware not to abuse this however, say specialists at Linder Myers Solicitors.

According to CAB, the majority of claims now not reaching the courts include disputes relating to unfair dismissal and employers withholding wages and holiday pay which indicates that some employers may be taking unfair advantage of staff.

David Southern, employment specialist at Linder Myers, commented: “The fees were introduced in July 2013 with the objective of minimising the number of less serious disputes being escalated to employment tribunals which, according to the recent research and government figures, has been successful.

“Employers should be aware however, that they still have a duty to treat staff fairly and to honour their obligations. The arbitration service ACAS has launched a free early conciliation service to help resolve less serious disputes and reach a fair conclusion for both parties. Employers who are subject to disputes with employees are encouraged to use this service in order to maintain positive relationships with staff which can have a direct impact on staff morale and productivity and enhance, rather than ruin, the reputation of their business.”

New rules mean that all employment disputes have to be lodged with ACAS in the first instance with both parties encouraged to reach a conciliatory and fair resolution before the matter can be escalated to an employment tribunal. The initial fees for lodging a claim at the employment tribunal start from £160 for straight forward claims increasing to £250 for more complex disputes such as discrimination or unfair dismissal, in some cases this can rise to £1,200 if the claim reaches the tribunal. The government announced in April that it may review and reduce these fees.