Sharp rise in Employment Tribunal claims

There’s been a dramatic rise in Employment Tribunal claims since fees for bringing an employment claim were abolished in July 2017.

Single employment claims – such as unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages – were up by 165% for the period of April – June 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.  And 42,700 multiple claims were also lodged over the same period, a rise of no less than 344% on 2017, although high-profile cases such as the supermarket equal-pay claims are more likely to explain this increase rather than the abolition of fees.

ACAS acknowledges that it has been receiving around 700 extra complaints a week since the fees were dropped. Faced with the huge rise in cases in the employment tribunal system, the Ministry of Justice is recruiting 54 new employment judges which will help to clear the back log.

Legal opinion

In our regions we’re experiencing lengthening delays and waiting times by the employment tribunals (ETs) as they battle with the ever-growing backlog of claims. This is made worse by cuts to their financial budgets and an overall lack of resources. Advice from one of our local ETs was for parties to comply efficiently with the tribunal’s directions to avoid follow up directions for clarification and unnecessary delays.  Furthermore, avoid including the ET in inter-party correspondence, for example settlement discussions, unless absolutely necessary.