Employment Law Update

Our colleagues at Xecutive Search have drawn attention to the recent news that the Supreme Court has allowed the appeal by the trade union, Unison, against the legality of the current system of employment tribunal fees, holding that the fees regime introduced in 2013 is unlawful.

This will mean a massive change to the way in which employment cases are handled; with employment tribunal fees being cut. This opens the door to employees seeking to make claims they may otherwise have been unable to afford.

The change means that employees looking to take out a claim (which would have previously cost them up to £1,200 in fees) will no longer have to pay out and they will be able to progress a claim without being charged.

The decision was made as the fees were considered ‘inconsistent with access to justice’, making reference to the drop in claims back in 2013 when the fees were first brought in. It was a battle fought by trade unions and is a landmark victory for these industry bodies, which have been campaigning for change ever since the fees were introduced.

From an employee’s perspective, this is positive news; trade unions had previously argued that these fees had reduced access to justice for those on lower incomes and that they were indirectly discriminatory due to a higher proportion of women making discrimination claims.

Consequently, the downturn previously seen when the fees were brought in is now very likely to be reversed, with a large increase in claims likely to take place. Employees will now be able to make claims that would have otherwise been out of their financial reach and employers will have to be much more careful, or risk claimants coming forward.

Xecutive Search would STRONGLY suggest that employers ensure that they have sufficiently robust HR and legal support to cope with this change.

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