new fees for employment tribunals will ‘undoubtedly’ reduce the soaring number of claims, a Sheffield solicitor says.
The Government is considering a £250 up-front fee to lodge a claim, with a further £1,000 due when the hearing is listed. The proposed change is expected in April 2013.
Workers will also have to be at a firm for two years before they can apply, up from one year, according to plans unveiled by George Osborne and set to be introduced by April 2012.
The aim is to reduce the record 218,000 claims which were lodged in the last months.
Glenn Jaques, partner at Wake Smith in Sheffield, said the system had been criticised for being weighted too heavily in favour of employees, driving a culture of spurious claims which undermined genuine cases.
Figures show one in five businesses have been threatened with a tribunal. Of those hit with a claim, more than 70 per cent settle, costing £6,000 on average.
Defending a claim costs more than £10,000 on average.
He added: “It has been argued that a longer qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims could amount to indirect sex discrimination, on the basis that women are less likely to build up that length of service. There has also been a suggestion made that younger workers would be disadvantaged by the longer qualifying period, as they are less likely to have been in employment for two years. The increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal therefore may be subject to legal challenges.”
Figures show one in five businesses have been threatened with a tribunal claim. Of those that receive a claim, more than 70 per cent settle to save money. The average amount is about £6,000 - defending a claim costs more than £10,000 on average.