Increase in employment tribunals claims predicted after Supreme Court decision
A leading Midlands employment lawyer has predicted a rise in the number of Employment Tribunal claims following a crucial and wide reaching decision by the Supreme Court.
Julia Fitzsimmons, Employment Partner with award winning law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, said the ruling by the Supreme Court that the tribunal’s Fees Order is unlawful and will be quashed will result in a Government pay out of up to £32m to claimants who had to pay fees.
Fees of up to £1,200 were introduced for Employment Tribunals in 2013 to weed out malicious and weaker cases. Unison took the case to court following an estimated 79 per cent reduction in tribunal claims over three years.
Julia said: “The judgement is incredibly important and recognises that employment tribunal cases are important for society as a whole, not just the individuals involved.
“The Supreme Court effectively confirmed that fact the Fees Order was preventing access to justice. The issue for employers is whether this will now see an increase in Employment Tribunal claims.
“There is no indication as yet as to whether there will be any fee for presenting tribunal claims or whether the system will go back to the fee pay system prior to 2013.”
She added that employers must review their employment policies in light of today’s decision and tread more carefully when dealing with employment issues
“There is the concern that employees who were not bringing claims or raising grievances internally may now feel emboldened to do so. Employers would be advised to review their systems and make sure that they get the basics right including handling disciplinary hearings and grievances properly and fully in accordance with the ACAS code and their own compliant procedures.
“There is also an issue raised by the Supreme Court that fees were indirectly discriminatory and we may see additional claims here in that women in particular were less able to meet the fee requirement.”