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Don't panic...but employment tribunal claims rise 165%

We suspected as much, from April to June this year single tribunal claims received were a whopping 165%.....

We suspected as much, from April to June this year single tribunal claims received were a whopping 165% (11,000 claims) up on the same quarter in 2017.  The increase will be almost entirely due to the removal of tribunal fees and the return to the current ‘free to claim’ employment tribunal system.

Anecdotally at myHRdept we had already noticed an increase in tribunal claims, but more telling has been the huge increase in the time it takes to list them for a pre-hearing. This time last year new cases received were booked for a pre-hearing in a matter of weeks, now the same process takes up to a year.

It is very clear that the now defunct fee regime, under which claimants would have to pay up to £1200 for their day in court, had dissuaded many potential claimants from bringing a claim against their employers, and many employers may have benefitted from being, let’s say, a little chancy as a result.

No longer can employers be so blasé, with tribunal claims rocketing and awards increasing  - disability discrimination averaged nearly £30,700, unfair dismissal compensation averaged £15,007 (not many years ago I reported it to be around £5,000.)

What the statistics don’t reveal is how many pre-claims are settled long before they become a tribunal statistic.  Anecdotally at myHRdept we estimate that for every tribunal claim there are 4 or 5 pre-claims to be dealt with, some are settled to dispose of the claim, some are not.

Despite the 165% claims increase there is no need to panic.  Yes, 11,000 people brought individual employment related claims in the quarter.  But that is out of a working population of 32.4 million!  Assuming 50,000 tribunal claims a year that’s still just 0.0015% of employed people bringing a claim.  Put it another way…if you employed a thousand people, you’d statistically expect 1 – 2 tribunal claims a year.  If you employ 10, you could go for decades without receiving one. Even when a claim is received most are settled or disposed of before the hearing and it is often economically sensible to settle, particularly if we think the employee’s claim has some merit.

So no need to panic but common sense is really the key – abide by the law, get good advice (myHRdept provides extremely cost effective HR solutions) and deal fairly with employee issues and you’ll probably never have to be the subject of a tribunal hearing.

HR and employment law is a technical discipline and while we can’t run restaurants or IT businesses, clothing companies or care homes, we are very good at managing HR/employee issues and good at advising employers on the courses of action available to them, which is why we are an essential part of any business team.  If you’ve not already obtained support from us, the latest news on employment tribunal stats might motivate you to look at what we can offer, which fortunately is a whole lot more than just dealing with tribunal claims. 

If you're thinking of outsourcing your HR or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept.co.uk? Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements or contact us and we’ll call you back.