Employment Tribunal Claims are on The Rise
It is no secret that since the abolition of Employment Tribunal Fees back in July 2017, the number of Employment Tribunal claims have increased significantly. Here at Whitehead Monckton, we are assisting clients with an increasing number of employment claims. Such claims can be stressful, time consuming and expensive for employers.
SO, WHAT CAN YOUR BUSINESS DO TO REDUCE THE RISK OF AN EMPLOYMENT CLAIM?
Start as you mean to go on
Employers are required by law to provide employees with specific written particulars in relation to their employment. In any event, it is always a good idea to put employment contracts in place. That way, everyone knows where they stand. Where possible contracts should be reviewed by an HR specialist or employment lawyer.
We also recommend having clear policies in place for day to day employment issues. Many employers will set these out in a staff handbook. Issues tend to arise less frequently where there is a clear and fair policy in place which everyone is aware of.
Employment law moves quickly and you should ensure that your documents are reviewed regularly to ensure that they continue to comply with the law. Again, it is helpful to have documentation reviewed by an expert in the field. If you ever do find yourself having to justify your actions in an Employment Tribunal, then having the right documentation in place will also help your defence.
Take advice early on in relation to difficult issues
If you have a thorny issue in the workplace, perhaps about holidays or overtime or something else, then you should address this. Burying one’s head in the sand rarely helps. Unhappy employees are likely to be less motivated. Issues which remain unresolved often affect working relationships and impair effective communication within the business. Unhappy employees can quickly become disgruntled employees.
Nip disputes in the bud
Seek to resolve disputes early on. The longer issues continue, the more difficult it is to resolve them effectively. The longer that problems continue, the more people tend to become more entrenched and unwilling to compromise.
Hear grievances properly. Try to work things out. Where there is an employment issue, always keep notes and records of meetings and conversations. Engage with ACAS once they are involved.
We strongly suggest that you seek the help of a lawyer as soon as an issue arises. Advice at an early stage is usually more cost effective. Assistance may well help you to avoid litigation and to avoid pit falls. A lawyer will review the situation and will advise you about the position and the potential risks etc. They will set out the options available. This will enable you to take a view. It is usually possible to resolve the issue one way or another.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, things go wrong and you can still end up being taken to an Employment Tribunal despite your best efforts. If you receive an Employment Tribunal claim, you need to act quickly. You will usually have about four weeks to put together and to submit an ET3 Response or defence.
Save in exceptional circumstances, failing to meet the Employment Tribunal’s deadline is likely to result in a default judgment against you or with you being excluded from the proceedings. It can take time to put a Response together and so, you should obtain legal advice as a matter of urgency.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We can help with all of the above.
Please do contact Louise Purcell on 01580 767525 or 01580 765722 or firstname.lastname@example.org