Sharp Increase In Employment Tribunal Claims

Since 2018, the number of people making employment tribunal claims has risen by 40%. This is according to figures released by ACAS in their annual report.

ACAS itself has reported a 21% increase in the number of notifications it has received something which is compulsory for those wanting to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim.

In July 2017 Employment Tribunal fees were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court. Since then, the number of claims being issued against employers has continued to rise. This means that employers are having to devote more time and costs to defending claims and dealing with ACAS conciliation.

So, how can employers best deal with the increased chance that a claim is going to be made against them – particularly in cases where you have done nothing or very little wrong?

Have suitable and current employment policies and procedures in place and that your managers and employees are familiar with them.

This helps to ensure that you are complying with the law and that you will be carrying out fair procedures when dealing with your employees but also that everyone within the company knows what they are and how to follow them.

Having something in writing takes away ambiguity which can be the cause of may grievances in the work place. Staff training and managers training can also help ensure that everyone is familiar with what is in place. This can be crucial in ensuring your managers know how to be a good manager and follow key HR policies.  It also helps employees properly understand what is expected of them at work.

BRM Solicitors offer a free employment law health check to ensure that all of your employment documentation is up to date.

Where it is not, we can recommend any necessary changes needed to ensure you are up to date and following best practice. Any work needed to updated would be detailed in the report. You can then choose whether or not you want us to help implement our recommendations. We can also provide one-off training sessions and specific advice relating to employment law and HR training on a “pay-as-you-go” basis.

Members of our Employment law service scheme – Beacon Basics, and Beacon Essentials receive employment law updates and a full employment contract and handbook/policies review upon joining the scheme. In this review, we assess all aspects of your employment and HR policies the review and advise what updates should be carried out. Your documentation can then be updated as and when required during your membership to ensure that you remain up to date.

Take advice early and keep records.

It is sensible for earlier advice to be taken to ensure that you comply with employment law which can often change on a daily basis. By taking advice early, you can ensure that you are not falling foul of employment law and this also helps you to ensure that any disputes do not escalate to a Tribunal and that if they do you have ticked all the boxes that you need to so that you can either apply for a claim to be struck out or be in the best position possible to defend it and in some cases seek a costs award against the other side.

With our subscription-based Beacon Basics and Beacon Essentials employment law schemes, you receive unlimited employment advice throughout the year up to where ACAS conciliation commences or proceedings are issued with one of our specialist employment lawyers *.

* there are some minor exclusions to this relating to TUPE advice where connected with a business purchase or sale but further details is provided when a quote is provided.

Our specialist employment law team will also ensure that any letters or documentation you have to use when dealing with employees or scripts that are needed for meetings, are compliant and there to assist you. All our advice and documents are personally tailored to your business to ensure that everything is relevant to your business at all times. This is unlike some other schemes where only generic precedents are provided.

A fixed price is given for joining the annual Employment Law Service Scheme, so you do not have to worry about costs getting out of control and although the price is for 12 months payment can be spread over a 12 month period.  The subscription to the Scheme can be paid monthly which can help with your cash flow and budgeting.

We can also help with record keeping advice and can also offer our HR Manager software which will help you keep all HR documents in one place and allow electronic access and authorisation of holidays and absences for managers and employees. A free no obligation demonstration can be provided for My HR Manager.

Insure against Employment Tribunal claims 

With the increased number of claims being made, it makes sense to obtain insurance cover against the possible costs and awards of an Employment Tribunal claim. This can save you a substantial amount of money in the long term.

BRM Solicitors undertook research to find an insurer with cover which is relevant and effective for our business clients. The insurance provider we use is Albion Legal, who are very competitive in the employment law insurance market but can also provide bespoke packages where you as the business owner can set your excess levels and choose how much and the type of cover you want.

The premiums are very reasonable and cover is normally provided from when you are notified of ACAS early conciliation meaning that the cover starts at a relatively early stage of the dispute. Cover can be for just legal costs or both legal costs and damages or just damages you choose.

Many insurers have already started to increase their premium because of the vast amount of employment tribunal claims now being made and it is possible that insurance premiums could increase further over the next 12 months to reflect the ongoing increases.

No obligation quotes for insurance are available on request.

To take advantage of the services we offer to minimise your exposure to Employment Tribunal claims, please contact one of our specialist employment law team.

Amy Hallam Director and Head of Employment
01246 564012 – amy.hallam@brmlaw.co.uk

Glenn Jaques – Director and Employment Law Specialist (Sheffield)
0114 3496993 – glenn.jaques@brmlaw.co.uk

 

About the author

Glenn Jaques is a director and solicitor specialising in employment law at our Sheffield office.

For more advice on this topic or related matters:

0114 3496993 glenn.jaques@brmlaw.co.uk