Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Rise in tribunals is hurting the region’s employers

ONE of the region’s employment lawyers is warning businesses to be extra vigilant at a time when employment tribunals continue to rise at an “alarming rate.”

In the wake of former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly winning her case against the BBC, Newcastle-based law firm Gordon Brown is urging employers to take extra care when disciplining or dismissing employees.

They said employers must ensure that they have clear procedures in place when dealing with such matters.

Jonathan Stokes, partner with Gordon Brown, said : “The number of claims brought before the employment tribunals has risen year-on-year and is a serious concern for many employers, particularly in the current climate.

“Access to justice is a fundamental legal principle, and there are thousands of genuine cases, but the sad truth is that it has simply become too easy for an employee to issue employment tribunal proceedings.”

The most recent employment tribunal annual report confirms that employees submitted 151,000 claims.

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue in a depressed jobs market – particularly as public sector cuts bite.

It has led the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce to call for a reform of the employment tribunals system.

Barry Hutchinson, Associate with Gordon Brown, added: “If an employer wants to protect themselves, it’s vital to ensure that they have the correct procedures in place.

“This means having proper disciplinary and grievance procedures, contracts of employment and staff handbooks – and most of all sticking to them. If they can do this, they increase the chances of success significantly.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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