There are no great surprises for employers in the latest tribunal statistics. The figures show that the number of tribunal claims continue to rise, although the good news is that they are not rising as steeply as they have done previously.
With the increased burden on the tribunal system, it is however taking longer for claims to be heard at tribunal.
The data for January to March 2019 shows that compared to the same period last year:
- There has been a 6% increase in the number of single tribunal claims;
- It’s taking six weeks longer to close cases than previously, the average time taken is now 33 weeks;
- The most common complaint made to employment tribunals remains the same – unauthorised deductions from wages.
What employers can take away from this is that employees, certainly in some areas, are more inclined to make tribunal claims than previously. Whilst for some this could still be due to there being no fees for making a complaint to a tribunal, there may also be a growing interest in and awareness amongst employees and workers of their rights.
What could this mean for employers?
It’s a good idea to consider whether there are any steps you can take in your organisation to reduce the likelihood that you will be subject to a successful claim.
Steps could include:
- Ensuring that managers have a basic awareness of employment law rights and how to appropriately manage common employment law matters. This can help to reduce the risk that your organisation will accidentally fall foul of the law.
- Continuing to seek expert employment law advice on the circumstances of your case from Kingfisher* before taking any action in relation to an employee. Employment law can be complex so it’s important to ensure you have expert support when dealing with issues.
- Ensuring managers and employees are appropriately trained in relation to matters such as discrimination, harassment and bullying. Training employees can reduce the likelihood that incidents will occur in the first place. In the unfortunate event that an issue does arise, training can empower managers to spot the problem quickly and manage the situation correctly.
- Keeping appropriate records. This will help you to evidence what has taken place in the event of a dispute with an employee. Should the matter reach tribunal, records that you have acted correctly can make the difference between winning and losing a case. As it’s taking longer for cases to reach tribunal in the first place, records are all the more important as memories can fade over time or key witnesses may leave your organisation making it more difficult to prove your case.
If you have any employment law issues with which you require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.
*Kingfisher refers to Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd