6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

Employment Law: Could we have a little perspective please?

PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:12 16 October 2017

Darren Sherborne of Sherbornes

Darren Sherborne of Sherbornes

Archant

Tribunal fees have been scrapped again leaving employers vulnerable to a claim. When should you fight a case? Darren Sherborne, of Sherbornes, explains...

In 2013, the Government introduced fees for bringing an employment tribunal claim, and new claims against employers plummeted by more than 70 per cent. Beleaguered employers heaved a collective sigh of relief and once again felt free to act with impunity.

At least that is the impression you get from the national press.

Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the fees regime is unlawful and overnight it has dissolved like the ice in the boss’s G&T.

Actually, if you stand back and look at what has actually happened, the impression is of an unholy mess, with no one being served to any degree and British industry all the worse for it.

First of all, if I read one more headline about the European Union interfering with our employment law I am going I am going to get le hump.

The reason the Supreme Court has scrapped tribunal fees has little or nothing to do with the EU.

The judgement in reality has far more to do with the British sense of what justice is than the Human Rights Act. It refers to Magna Carta and open justice.

How British can you get? So no more purging by headline hunting Brexiteers, this is essentially British to its core.

Of course, a 70% drop in tribunals back in 2013 meant a saving in (yes, you guessed it) employment judges, some of whom faced redundancy. Oh the irony!

Now of course, with the scrapping of tribunal fees, tribunal claims have again increased. There are no official figures yet, but threefold is the rough estimate of the claim increase of one officer in the Bristol tribunal. This increase has of course been met with exactly no increase in resource, either in the tribunals or at ACAS who have to deal with claims in the first instance.

With staff now free to start tribunals without cost, it is predictable that claims will rise.

Employers are no less equipped to deal with errant employees than they were before fees were introduced but tribunals themselves are not as well equipped. Therefore, long delays are due to become the norm.

With claims now taking twice as long to deal with, anecdotally, then the uncertainty of a tribunal claim for both employer and employee is longer and often more damaging.

Another feature of this catalogue of unexpected developments is the gradual move that is occurring almost entirely unnoticed, that shifts the burden of social security away from the government and on to the helpless employer.

If you hadn’t noticed the glacial pace of movement you could be forgiven, but think about it. First it was maternity rights, then came sick pay (moving from state to employer), auto enrolment pension (with accompanying employer contributions) and then holiday rights for apparently self-employed workers.

The now famous case against Uber which is currently being appealed, means that employers now pick up the tab for self-employed agents having a holiday.

Naturally, as businessmen and women struggle to keep up with these changes, claims are brought by workers and employees wishing to benefit as the law intended. That’s where the tribunal’s difficulty keeping up is causing the problems. It is not helped by some advisors encouraging employers to spend more defending some claims than the claims are worth.

In August this year, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs wrote an article attacking an overly risk averse HR profession in which he quoted an employer who he said spent £50,000 defending a claim for £15,000.

I would suggest he change his lawyer.

These claims could be settled, or negotiated for a fraction of the money, and a fraction of the distraction than a full blown, long delayed tribunal can cause. That’s not to say that an employer should not stand up for itself, or indeed send the right message to the rest of the workforce, but as my father always said, there is a difference between scratching one’s arse and tearing lumps out. Wise words.

To find out more, visit the Sherbornes website here.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Neil and Alison Smith wanted a project, but then their old coach house began to reveal its interesting little glitches

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Taking over the reins on a well-established 50 year old family business, third generation family member Matt Cleevely has taken his own passion for sustainability and put in place a business vision that marries the heritage of Cleevely Motors and a future commitment to all things electric

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

From food and farming champions to expert retailers, design houses to haulage companies, the old guard to the new kids on the block, we are lucky to count them among our numbers and applaud the contribution they make to the Cotswolds’ business landscape

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Did you attend the opening of Lodders’ new office in Cheltenham? If so, you could be in our social photos...

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“It’s important to keep investing in new equipment, not only to meet demand but to also maintain the high quality of our packaging that our customers rely on.”

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Crowe, the national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, has acquired a Gloucestershire accounting business that specialises in helping entrepreneurs

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

‘If its autumn in Gloucestershire, then it must be time for Apple Day when we celebrate cider’

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

‘What meal would you choose, if you could only ever eat that meal three times a day forever and day?’

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Here’s our pick of some of the very best chefs from our local pubs, restaurants and hotels in and around the Cotswolds and sharing their advice and tips on how they made themselves and their businesses successful

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search