Employment Tribunal Fees are Unlawful – Protect Your Business Top Ten Tips

01 Aug

The most momentous achievement for worker’s rights in the last 25 years! The Supreme Court’s ruling that tribunal fees are unlawful is regarded as a massive boost for ordinary workers getting access to justice.  When fees were introduced in July 2013, there was an immediate drop off of tribunal claims (up to 70% reduction in claims launched). The simple reason was that workers who had potential claims against employers were put off seeking justice due to fee barriers. From the 26 July, fees cease to become payable for anyone wishing to pursue an employment claim for perceived breaches of employment rights. Additionally, as the fees were deemed unlawful, the government now must refund past fees paid by claimants (or the employer where they reimbursed fees).

This decision is whoopee for employees but fiddlesticks for employers as claims are likely to increase fairly dramatically over the next few months – more risks for employers to mitigate.

What can employers do to minimise their exposure to a potential claim, here are our ten tips:

1.     Its fundamental to keep good records; many a spurious claim can go further than it should owing to tardy record keeping

2.     Have well written policies and communicate them well

3.     Line managers are your most valuable asset; train them well to handle everyday workplace issues to avert disputes. We recently designed and delivered a one-day course ‘HR essentials for line managers’. (link to training course)

4.     Create a work environment which encourages trust and openness

5.     Encourage managers to use one-to-one sessions to nip problems in the bud quickly and effectively

6.     Handle performance concerns promptly; delaying or worse still, doing nothing will cause performance problems to escalate.

7.     Follow your company guidelines on handling grievances and disciplinaries. Avoid knee jerk reactions and act fairly, consistently and proportionately; Investigate grievance and discipline complaints promptly and thoroughly

8.     In handling appeals, use someone who was not involved in the previous stages and use the appeal stage to put right any errors in the process or the decision

9.     Closely weigh-up whether its economically viable to settle early through the early conciliation process; sticking to moral principles can be a picric victory

10.  Using a trained mediator can be a very effective way of resolving disputes; success rates in dispute resolution is high.  We have a trained mediator on our team so please enquire for further information.


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