Employment tribunals are often associated with controversy and cost. However, the Government has made a number of important changes to the legislation, to weed out false claims and fast-track legitimate ones. This came into effect on Monday 29th July 2013.
Currently ex-employees can drag-up any false claim in the hope of securing a settlement. Employment tribunals currently have to pursue such claims, even when they are suspect, while preparing the defence of such claims can be expensive, time-consuming and distracting for businesses. This is particularly troublesome for smaller businesses who don’t have the resources or the cash.
One of most the controversial new changes will be the introduction of tribunal fees. The Tribunal system has become inundated and employers have reportedly felt more and more vulnerable to spurious claims. There is no doubting the introduction of Fees is as a result of a well-intentioned desire to remove such claims so that the for the first time a Claimant must 'put their money where their mouth is'.
One of the most important changes is the implementation of a Sift by an employment judge. After a Claim has been presented and the Response has been accepted by the Tribunal, an Employment Judge will consider all of the documents it has and decide, based on that information, whether the Claim or Response, or any part of it, should be dismissed, either because there are no arguable complaints/defences or for lack of jurisdiction. This is a common sense approach and one which employers will welcome, unless their Response gets sifted out!
These changes as well as others aim to weed-out the false claims (perhaps up to 40%) and fast-track the legitimate ones, with the intention of creating a framework for managing cases more flexibly and efficiently.
Here is a link to 'Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide'
Article Source: SMEWeb