The latest figures from the Ministry of Justice have been released and show that employment tribunal claims have risen by 120%, a statistic that we at Croner believe Welsh businesses should take notice of.
The big rise in claims is due to the lifting of fees by the Supreme Court in July 2017, which ruled they were ‘unlawful’ and a barrier to justice’.
This means there are no longer any fees preventing businesses’ employees from escalating their case to tribunal, which will then fall upon you, the employer, to argue the case.
Businesses in Wales should take action now to protect your business from a claim – as any business which has a claim made against them may have to seek legal advice through a solicitor, which costs £5,000 per claim, on average.
Protect Your Business In 5 Steps
Step 1: Correct Documentation:
Employers should ensure the correct documentation is in place. Legally, you must provide all employees with a written document of their contract of employment containing all relevant information within two months of them starting with the company. The contract should include concise and comprehensive details of all businesses procedures, policies and expectations – you should also obtain a signed copy by the employee. Disputes often arise when policies or clauses are not included in the contract – be sure that the document is water tight and not open to individual interpretation.
Step 2: Act Swiftly:
Addressing issues at an early stage can often resolve them, before they escalate. Managers must feel able to do this so provide the appropriate training and information to effectively deal with dispute resolution. Issues and concerns that are not addressed early on often worsen and progress into conflict between employee and employer before developing into a costly tribunal.
Step 3: Grievances:
Every grievance must be dealt with. A grievance, raised either formally or informally is an early indication of a problem. Dealing with these problems effectively will prevent a dispute developing.
This needs to be ingrained into the culture and all staff in senior positions need to be aware of their potential to prevent disputes from occurring by effectively managing these situations. The chances are, by the time senior management are aware of the issue, it’s because they have been notified of a tribunal claim.
Step 4: Follow Your Procedures:
Having very clear procedures which are followed to the letter, every time, is vital to successfully managing a potentially risky situation to a satisfactory conclusion.
In many tribunal claims, the employer is entitled to take action against employees that have been difficult to manage, but haven’t followed the correct procedure and find themselves hit with an unfair dismissal claim. The process of managing, disciplining or dismissing staff should be executed with great care and meticulous planning in order to prevent unfair dismissal claims from being made against you.
Step 5: Seek Advice:
If you need support with tightening up your disciplinary and grievance procedures or have an ongoing situation which is progressing to tribunal, you have a number of options. You could seek case by case advice from a solicitor, hire in-house support, or consult with HR & employment law experts, like Croner.
Croner offer legal advice at the fraction of the costs of solicitors and consultants and will help you protect your business from a potential claim. If a claim is received they will assess its merits to ensure employers are not paying settlements when claims have no realistic chance of success.
Rising Tribunal Claims: The Latest Stats
- National minimum wage: there has been a 130% increase in claims made by the end of 2017
- Equal pay: there have been over 9,300 claims made between July to September 2017 – a 274% increase
- Unauthorised deductions from wages: over 5,500 claims were made from July to September 2017 – a 179% increase
- Failure to inform and consult during redundancy: nearly 1,000 claims were made from July to September 2017 – a 119% increase
Croner are a world-class workplace business partner and pioneer of support for human resources, health & safety, Tax, pay and benefits and so much more. For more information and for expert employment law advice & support contact Croner on 0808 145 3490.