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Employment Tribunals: How To Avoid Them

New research shows a staggering rise in the number of employers taken to employment tribunals by their own employees.

Many business owners, who beforehand thought themselves safe, have found themselves in court, defending their actions. It’s imperative to make sure that you – as an employer – have the protection you need to prevent this happening to you. Or if it does happen, to make sure you’ve got the exact level of support you need.

A recent study, highlighted in the Financial Times this week, suggests the percentage of employment tribunals is now 24 per cent higher than five years ago. Last year there were over 235,000 claims to tribunal and the Gibbons review of dispute resolution estimated the cost to employers of defending a claim to be in the region of £9000. .. and that was in 2007!

And worse is to come. A further increase in claims is expected over the next 12 months as more job cuts are imminent, both in the private and public sectors.

As you might expect, claims of unfair dismissal are the leading cause of employees taking their employers to employment tribunal.

While employment tribunals aren’t always avoidable, you are far less likely to be taken to one if you have robust contracts, grievance and disciplinary procedures in place.  A robust redundancy policy will also help protect you from potentially expensive and damaging claims.

But remember, with a maximum tribunal award of £65,300 – this is unlimited in cases of discrimination, with the highest award to date being £1.35 million – the key is to ensure that your procedures are, indeed, robust.

“There is evidence to suggest that good HR practice and people management in SMEs are key factors in strong business performance and can lead to increased productivity.”

- CIPD people Skills Project 2017


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