In September 2021, the Ministry of Justice released its quarterly report on the Employment Tribunal statistics for January to March 2021.
The report shows that the employment tribunal claims are tapering off, however, they saw a significant increase of 25% between September and December 2020, whilst the number of multiple claims increased by 14%, following a staggering increase of 82% in the previous quarter.
The significant rise in tribunal claims will no doubt have been impacted by the pandemic and the economic effect this had on businesses, resulting in health and safety dismissals/resignations, redundancies, unemployment and changes to employers’ terms and conditions.
Due to the extension of the furlough scheme until 30 September 2021 the Employment Tribunal expects claims to slow until the autumn with an influx thereafter following the end of the furlough scheme.
The most common jurisdictional complaint disposed of between January and March 2021 was ‘unfair dismissal’. However, due to the significant backlog, over 25,000 claims were allocated as ‘other’ in the previous quarter therefore it is unclear what types of claims are being brought to the tribunals.
We are starting to see a trickle of COVID-19 related cases making their way through the tribunal, such as health and safety dismissals and long COVID-related absence dismissals cases.
It is likely that these will increase in the coming months as they make their way through the system. We have also seen a number of Claimant’s ticking the box for the ‘other’ claim type on their claim forms, where these are actually claims for discrimination including increased claims from those with less than 2 years’ service
Discrimination claims relating to the wearing of face masks have also been common in recent months, along with claims regarding redundancy and TUPE transfers reflecting the commercial difficulties that many employers have been facing. We anticipate claims in these areas to increase again now the furlough scheme has ended.
The annual figures for 2020/2021 are yet to be released. However, in 2019/2020 the Ministry of Justice reported that the average award for an unfair dismissal claim was £10,812. Whilst the average for discrimination ranged from £9,801 to £38,794 dependent on the protected characteristic. The highest award at the Employment Tribunal in 2019/2020 was £265,719 in respect of a disability discrimination claim.
Due to the significant costs involved, it’s important that Respondents seek the correct representation in order to be best placed to defend such claims.
The Napthens Employment Tribunal team has seen a significant increase, over 50%, in Employment Tribunal claims over the past year and we have been successful in supporting our clients and defending these Employment Tribunals claims.
We are pleased to say that currently we have a 90% success rate at tribunal. In addition, we have been successful in settling a number of claims through ACAS or a negotiated withdrawal with the Claimant.
Employment Tribunal claims can often be time consuming and complex for businesses; however, our Employment Tribunal team can provide assistance from ACAS conciliation to defending the claim to a final hearing.
If you require assistance or would like to discuss the above further, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Employment & HR team who will be happy to assist.