Employment tribunal fees, are you ready for the change?
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful and that as of the 26th July 2017 people would no longer need to pay fees to make an employment tribunal claim. They also ruled that if you paid employment tribunal fees in recent years, you'll soon be able to claim them back (amounting to £27m paid by employees for cases around unfair dismissal).
For most employees, this is going to come as a great relief. They no longer have to find the money to submit a fee if they feel that they are being treated unfairly at work.
There are however, two negatives; with the lack of fee, this leaves the door open for anyone, at anytime, to submit an employment tribunal claim. On the one hand this is great for genuine cases, but human nature is such that there may be a select few who submit claims simply to ruffle feathers and make waves in a previous company, or simply out of frustration.
This brings me on to the second negative; essentially, this could become a huge waste of public money and time spent defending fraudulent claims. I believe that there needs to be a level of charge in the tribunal process to deter individuals from doing this.
Of course, this should not be barrier to justice. I’m talking about a fee that gets paid after the fact; either by the employee or the employer. This seems a much fairer way of doing things – it will deter false claims, but ensure employees receive justice should a case be resolved in their favour.
Over the last four years, thousands of people who couldn’t afford to put in a claim have lost money or lost their jobs and have not had the chance to have their say - it’s both employees and employers who have become, unfortunately, the losers in the last four years.
With sophisticated HR systems in place - such as ER Tracker - best practice will be in place to ensure, as best as possible, all cases are tracked and monitored and time frames are adhered to. This could, in some cases, even reduce the risk of going to an employment tribunal in the first place. Regardless though, it will put a process in place to make it less likely and install a culture to follow procedure in HR departments.
What do you think of the new changes? A step in the right direction or an accident waiting to happen?