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The Ministry of Justice has recently published its Annual Employment Tribunal Statistics for the period April 2010 to March 2011.
The total number of accepted claims at employment tribunal in the period was 218,100, which covered 382,400 individual complaints (a claim might be made for both unfair dismissal and race discrimination at the same time).
Whilst this is a slight fall on last year (8%) it nonetheless represents an increase of 44% against the number of claims made in 2008/09.
Some of the more interesting statistics are:
- 13% of claims were for unfair dismissal; 19% for unauthorised deduction from wages; 9% for a breach of contract; 9% for equal pay; 8% related to sex, race or disability discrimination; 4% for redundancy pay and 4% for failure to consult correctly on redundancy;
- Age discrimination claims rose by 32% on the previous year, although claims related to other forms of discrimination actually fell slightly;
- Two-thirds of claimants were represented by lawyers and 5% were represented by a Trade union;
- The maximum unfair dismissal award was £181,754 – the average award was £8,924; as the maximum here is in excess of the statutory cap it is likely that the dismissal related to a complaint of whistle-blowing or health and safety, where the cap does not apply;
- The maximum race discrimination award was £62,530;
- The maximum sex discrimination award was £289,167;
- The maximum disability discrimination award was £181,083;
- The maximum religious discrimination award was £20,211
- The maximum sexual orientation discrimination award was £47,633;
- The maximum age discrimination award was £144,100;
The above figures represent the maximum awards in each of the categories,so the average awards will be much lower, it does highlight the potential penalty to employers for not following correct protocol and/or procedure.
Interestingly, in a previous article we concentrated on the correct process for managing redundancy and there were two stories in the press last week highlighting the mismanagement of such scenarios – one which is current and one of which has already resulted in a significant (£1.5m) award by an Employment Tribunal to a group of company employees.
As you can see, with the potential cost to you business so high it’s essential that you do everything you can to avoid an employment tribunal. You’ll need to ensure that you have have robust employment policies and procedures in place and that you follow them rigorously. Failure to do so may well result in you becoming part of next year’s Annual Employment Tribunal Statistics.