Employment Tribunal reform

A recent survey by the CIPD has underlined how important the recent government consultation on the reform of the Employment Tribunals system and ‘resolving workplace disputes’ will be. According to the figures in their ‘Conflict Management’ report published earlier in March more than two out of three employers (69%) believe that they have no effective protection against claims without merit made to the Employment Tribunal by employees. Just over half of the respondents reported that they had experienced malicious claims.

The government’s consultation proposes the reinstatement of a two year period of service before a claim for unfair dismissal may be brought, a measure which chimes with the results of the survey in which 52% argued that the law in this area should be amended.

Proposals to tackle vexatious claims would also be welcomed by 54% of respondents such as more robust case management and giving the tribunals greater powers to award costs against unsuccessful claimants.

The government’s consultation is currently open, closing on 20th April, and it is hoped that any measures arising from its responses will go some way to address the valid concerns shown in the CIPD’s survey results.

The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) commenced a campaign on this issue in May 2010 and has taken part in the pre-consultation process, highlighting the unfairness of vexatious and unfounded claims. To continue this process the ARC is holding a breakfast meeting for members and hirer guests on 14th April 2011 about the Employment Tribunals consultation which will be an open forum discussion. Craig Robb, Head of Employment Tribunals Service, and a spokesperson from BIS will be on hand to discuss the issues. If you are interested in ARC membership and wish to attend this event click here to find out more.

The ARC considers it crucial that new rules are introduced to limit the damage caused by unfounded claims, including those by agency workers. This is all the more important as the Agency Worker Regulations come into force in October.