Since 2013, disgruntled employees had been required to pay up to £1,200 to get to an employment tribunal; this had the effect of dramatically reducing the number of claims being issued against employers.
However in August the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees were unlawful. This decision has to feature as the biggest story in employment law this year, and raised excitement levels at Opsium to fever pitch. Well, for a few hours anyway.
Feel the fear…
The obvious concern for all employers was that if employees did not have to pay tribunal fees to issue proceedings and go to a hearing, the inevitable consequences would be an increase in tribunal claims for employers to defend.
These fears are now starting to materialise, with ACAS reporting an increase in activity. They were receiving around 350 ET1s before the decision; this has now increased with ACAS receiving up to 700 ET1s per week.
Further evidence to suggest an upward trend comes from the minutes from the National Employment Tribunal User Group which indicate that some regions have seen a doubling of claims.
The advice to all employers has to be that with the increased risk of ending up in a tribunal it’s never been more important to:
- Implement company policies and, in the event of transgressions,
- Get advice before taking action against employees,
- Then follow the correct procedure(s)
The only silver lining for employers is that they can claim back any tribunal fees they paid between July 2013 and August 2017. The process is now up and running via the Courts to make a claim for fees paid out in the past and I’m pleased to report we’ve already successfully recovered fees we paid out in two cases.
If you’d like to find out how we can help you recover tribunal fees then call us on 0161 603 2156.