The first year of the pandemic saw a sharp rise in tribunal claims. To ensure employers are fully aware of the risk, Croner has broken down the numbers so you can see the clear trends emerging...
What they mean
These latest set of statistics are a helpful look at a period of time in which we faced increased restrictions across the UK as a result of the rise in coronavirus cases, including a last-minute extension to the furlough scheme at the end of October.
As usual, October to December 2020 saw a large number of claims submitted to the employment tribunal, with over 14,000 claims submitted, which remains a reflection on the removal of tribunal fees. The continued increase in the number of claims, and subsequent increase in backlog, can also be attributed to the pandemic and altered working conditions as a result.
What should you do?
The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a concern for HR and employment law. You must make sure you are legally compliant in your response to it. Remember
that employment law is not suspended due to the pandemic. Now more than ever, you need to get these key procedures right to avoid the risk of being taken to a
tribunal. Crucially, all decisions to dismiss an employee must follow a fair process and be reasonable.
Taking advice to settle a claim, whether through a settlement agreement or at the Early Conciliation stage, can reduce the financial risk of facing a tribunal. It also helps prevents the reputational risk of a tribunal judgment being published online.
Companies should also maintain an equality and diversity policy. This should outline the steps you will take to combat discrimination arising in the workplace. Be aware of the legal obligation placed upon you to make reasonable adjustments to assist disabled employees.
Finally, despite recent rumours, there is still no confirmation from the government that tribunal fees will return. If and how this would work does remain to be seen. Due to the nature of their abolition, a new procedure for submitting fees is extremely unlikely to follow the same processes as before.
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