Single employment tribunal claims in April-June 2018 have risen by 165% compared to the same quarter last year, the Ministry of Justice has revealed – with a 23% increase on the previous quarter alone.
The sharp rise is almost certainly due to tribunal fees being lifted in July 2017, meaning that bringing a claim is a viable option for more people.
A quarter of claims were dealt with quickly, settled through ACAS Early Conciliation. Almost half of those were related to pay and benefits, especially minimum wage; and more than 8,000 were related to whistleblowing and discrimination.
And here’s the bit that may concern employers: the average award for an unfair dismissal claim was £15,007 (median £8,015), with the maximum a huge £415,227. Meanwhile, successful discrimination claims averaged £13,212 – which skyrockets up to £30,698 for disability discrimination.
So how can your company avoid a tribunal claim?
In a nutshell, you can avoid employment tribunal claims by acting lawfully and treating your staff fairly.
Our parent company, employment law specialists Peninsula, recommends tackling this on four main fronts…
1. Start with staff contracts
Update your staff’s employment contracts on the regular, to make sure they’re compliant and reflect each employee’s actual work.
See our range of topics for practical advice on what to look out for.
2. Follow a fair disciplinary process
It’s important to have a disciplinary process in place that approaches matters fairly. Remember that even if you dismiss someone for a valid reason, flaws in your disciplinary process can make it
Peninsula’s advice? “Carry out proper investigations, make unbiased decisions, and don’t make mistakes.”
See our in-depth Disciplinary Procedures guide to learn how to do that.
3. The minimum wage trap
Remember that the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage change every year, and for younger workers it goes up as they age. Always check that you’re paying the right amount to your staff on minimum wage.
This is one of the most common issues in tribunal claims – in the last year, in fact, the government found that 200,000 workers had been underpaid.
4. Be fair with your people
Finally, the core of good management: treat your staff fairly. Be aware of both direct and indirect discrimination, which can put certain employees at a disadvantage and lead to discrimination claims. We have a range of resources on discrimination to help you out here too.
For more info on how to make sure your organisation acts lawfully and fairly, look inside Croner-i Human Resources.