Fees ban sparks employment claim spike

Donald MacKinnon, LAW director of legal services. Picture: contributed.
Donald MacKinnon, LAW director of legal services. Picture: contributed.
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Employment claims have risen sharply since tribunal fees were abolished almost two years ago, new figures suggest.

Employment law, HR and health and safety specialist Law At Work (LAW) recorded a 25 per cent annual jump in claims in 2018, citing the abolition of tribunal fees in July 2017 as a key driver.

The firm received a total of 64 employment claims last year, a 120 per cent jump compared with 2014, the first full year in which fees were paid.

LAW’s figures reflect the increase seen by the Employment Tribunal, which experienced a 65.5 per cent rise to 41,212 claims in 2018.

The practice forecasts that numbers will continue to climb this year, as tribunals surged by 17 per cent in the opening four months of 2019.

Recent research shows a significant rise in disability discrimination claims which have grown eight times faster than other tribunal claims.

Employment tribunal fees were abolished after the Supreme Court ruled they were unlawful, with claimants forced to spend up to £1,200 to fund cases of unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay.

Donald MacKinnon, director of legal services at LAW, said: “It was inevitable that there would be an upsurge in the number of employment claims pursued following the abolition of fees.

“As awareness of how mental health issues impact on the workplace there appears to be an increased number of workers progressing disability discrimination claims relating to stress. Employers should consult their advisers on best working practices.”