Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Employment Tribunal System Part II

Following from the last blog post on the Employment Tribunal System a consultation paper was released on 27th January which seeks views on a number of proposals which if successfully implemented are intended to address concerns raised by the British Chamber of Commerce by reducing costs and making workplace disputes easier to resolve.

Citing the government’s aim to review employment law in order to make “the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business” the paper set outs a number of proposals that it hopes will “encourage parties to use early dispute resolution”, and if the dispute does go through an employment tribunal to make “cases move more swiftly to conclusion, so as to contain costs for employers, employees and the taxpayer”. (i)

With proposals ranging from “increased awareness of mediation”, to putting forward “legislative proposals to simplify the employment tribunal process” and amending the qualifying period for employees from one year to two before they can bring a claim for unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal, the consultation paper is bound to attract many responses before its April deadline. You can read all of the proposals and background information in the consultation paper online. (ii)

If implemented the proposals could benefit both the employee and employer with improved efficiencies, early resolution and a reduction in cases escalating to employment tribunals. Although there may also be some negative financial implications for unfair dismissal claimants in the form of introducing a fee and for employers in the form of introducing fines if the employer is found to have treated their employee unfairly. Moreover, some proposals could have unforeseen consequences which add costs to the system.

ARAG policyholders will be well-placed to welcome these proposals with 24/7 legal advice, updated downloadable legal documents and the assurance that policy coverage will reflect any future changes to the law.

(i) & (ii): Department for Business, Skills & Innovation and Tribunals Service (2011); Resolving workplace disputes: A consultation January 2011

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