21 January 2013
Employment tribunals down in recession
The number of angry workers who are seeking compensation at employment tribunals has declined by more than one-fifth in the last two years due to economic pressures, a new study has revealed.
According to data released by the Ministry of Justice, claims for damages fell from more than 235,000 in 2010 to 186,300 last year as the recession dented incomes and put some jobs under threat.
Reported by the Daily Mail, the findings highlighted a 40 per cent drop in sex discrimination cases, while former employees who believe they have been unfairly dismissed fell by 20 per cent last year.
The figures have spurred analysts to suggest members of staff are keen to avoid becoming embroiled in expensive disputes that could put their income and career in jeopardy at a time when new jobs are difficult to find.
It comes after business secretary Vince Cable announced plans of the government's aims to persuade workers to stay out of the tribunal system when they get involved in rows.
Mr Cable outlined new limits to be rolled out on payments for unfair dismissal, which would see ex-employees eligible to one year's wages if their case is successful in court.
The move will see fewer workers qualify for the current unfair dismissal compensation limit of £72,300 and will be closer to the average salary of £26,000.
Commenting on the Ministry of Justice figures, the CBI said: "If numbers of single cases are falling, that's good for workers and businesses. But there's a long way to go before it is at an acceptable level.
"The beef for business is not the number of tribunals itself - clearly workers should have a right to independent arbitration - but the delays in the system. Tribunal cases are still taking far too long, unfair dismissals on average take 35 weeks."
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Posted by Francesca Witney