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Increase in Tribunal claims

30th September 2010
The official figures for the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal for the year between April 2009 and March 2010 have been published.
Overall the figures show that there has been an increase in the number of claims by 56% on the previous year's figures.

The Ministry of Justice has attributed the increase in the rise of multiple claims (ie where a claimant pursues two or more claims in the Tribunal, such as unfair dismissal with sex discrimination). In addition the Ministry refers to the "changing economic climate" as a reason for the rise in the number of claims.

Looking more closely at the figures it is clear that the number of unfair dismissal claims rose by 17% on last year, which in turn is an increase of 62% on the year before that. In addition, the number of claims of breach of contract and for redundancy payments rose. There were slight increases in claims of sex discrimination, race and disability discrimination.

Of the claims that were submitted a large number were withdrawn, about one third of all claims submitted. One third were settled. Of the cases that were fought in the Tribunal 13% were won by the claimant, and 6% were won by the employer (or former employer).

These figures indicate that with the recession individuals are more prepared to take their concerns to the Tribunal than in better economic conditions. This reflects the fact that people can reasonably expect a period of unemployment in the present circumstances, whereas previously the individual may have moved into a new job quite quickly, and therefore not seen a compelling economic reason to take a claim in the Tribunal. The lesson for employers is that they need to make sure that they carry out their procedures fairly and thoroughly, be that in dealing with a greivance from an employee, redundancy, or dismissal. We can provide employers with guidance in dealing with procedures when the need arises. Importantly employers should ensure that they have policies and procedures in place, and provide training to the managers that are required to operate them.

If you need any further help or assistance in respect of the issues raised in this article please do not hesitate to contact us.        
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