The number of Employment Tribunal claims has tripled since the abolishment of the fees in 2017 following the Supreme Court ruling in July.
During the period July to September, the number of claims has increased by 120% to 30,339 compared with 13,759 during the previous quarter. These statistics would confidently lead us to believe that the existence of fees discouraged employees from bringing a claim to the Tribunal.
The total figure of employment tribunal claims includes single claims and multiple claims. Multiple claims are where more than one employee brings a claim against the same employer.
The Ministry of Justice have revealed the latest statistics of single claims made; between April and June 2017, 4,241 single claims were made compared to 7,042 received in July to September 2017. This shows an increase of 66% since the Employment Tribunal fees were abolished. In terms of multiple claims, there was an increase of 144%. In the period of April to June 2017, 9,518 multiple claims were made, whereas between July to September 2017, 23,297 multiple claims were received. The multiple claims related to 429 multiple claim cases. Thus as an average of 54 claims per case.
From the start of the year to September 2017, the Tribunal service received 75,250 claims. 15,535 of these were single cases and 59,715 of these were multiple claims. During the same period, the number of claims made because of unauthorised wage deductions was 10,035. For unfair dismissal, the Tribunal service received 10,192 claims and 17,766 claims were made in relation to equal pay.
During July to September 2017, 7,563 equal pay cases were brought forward. This was the largest jurisdictional increase between this time period.
The head of the employment law department at Lupton Fawcett, Andrew Gilchrist, stated: “It’s clear that many people were discouraged from bringing claims due to the Employment Tribunal fees that were abolished earlier this year. The massive increase in multiple claims, which tend to be more volatile, due to the fact that they can be made up of a high number of claims against a single employer indicated there is a large number of employees who are currently dissatisfied”.
This shows that the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees has clearly had an impact on employers and employees. Employers will have faced many challenges this year and it has shown them they need to be more careful and sensitive when handling employee issues. Organisations need to ensure they allow adequate time for employees to express their concerns and voice their opinions. They must also look at how their employees are treated and minimise any factors which could create a risk to the company. Having strong robust policies and procedures and adhering to same is highly important, ensuring a consistent and fair approach in the treatment of employees across the business. In the case of doubt Employers should seek legal advice or support rather than ignoring a problem given the trend the current statistics indicate and the potential costs to the business of getting this wrong.
If you have any questions regarding this post or need any advice or guidance in relation to Employment Tribunal claims, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932