Unlawful Employment Tribunal Fees and What Employers Should Expect Now

BlogHR Advice Posted: Monday 31st July 2017 by

In 2013, the government introduced fees for those bringing employment tribunal claims, in order to reduce the number of ‘weak and malicious’ cases brought to court by disgruntled employees. However, unions protested that fees – of up to £1200 – prevented some claimants from accessing appropriate justice, especially amongst the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers.

In a landmark decision by The Supreme Court last week, employment tribunal fees have now been scrapped. The Supreme Court ruled the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees.

The government has raised more than £27M in employment tribunal fees since their introduction and it will now begin the reimbursement process – at the expense of the taxpayer.

As from July 28th, new employment law tribunal claims can be submitted without a fee meaning that all employees can access justice via an employment tribunal, irrelevant of income status. The government will announce its refund policy and what claimants will need to do to claim reimbursement, but in the meantime, we are likely to see a huge surge in new claims, which will have a knock-on effect for employers as well as the entire employment tribunal system.

With the expected surge in new claims, we advise employers to be vigilant and implement or strengthen early intervention and mediation procedures to significantly reduce the risk of a court hearing. Policies should be strengthened across the board; HR policies provide excellent guidance on a range of rights and responsibilities across the entire employee population.

Human Results work with your team and existing HR strategy to provide practical advice and guidance on HR policy development, completely tailored to the needs of your organisation.

Strong policy development and implementation will help to protect your business and your employees, and will let your employees know what you expect from them and what they can expect from their employment with your company.

Although it’s always better to resolve workplace disputes internally, we know this is not always possible. Working in partnership with your business, Human Results provide impartial pre-action conciliation and workplace mediation to help to settle previously unresolvable disputes. We have the expertise to act as the intermediary between your business and ACAS during early conciliation and tribunal and can evaluate and mitigate the risk to your business from issues relating to workplace disputes.

For a confidential discussion about how we can support your business with policy development, early intervention, and dispute resolution, get in touch with our specialist HR team.

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