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Employment Tribunals Increase 18% In First Three Months Of Lockdown
Lawyers Say The Levels Will Increase As Cost Pressures Intensify
The Government has this week announced that the number of Employment Tribunals involving individuals increased by almost 20% between April and June 2020 - and according to employment lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, the level is likely to continue rising over the next 12 months.
The Ministry of Justice’s website says the increase is most likely due to the rise in unemployment and changes to working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It adds that the caseload outstanding stands at 37,000 – greater than the peak levels seen in 2009/10 when it was 36,000 in Q2 of that year.
“These figures mark a significant year on year rise but they don’t surprise me. I think the numbers will only go one way over the next 12 months at least as the current furlough scheme comes to an end.
“These are difficult times for businesses but some in their haste to save costs are making basic errors in their redundancy programmes such as not going through a fair procedure even in genuine cases. Others are getting rid of older staff which is directly discriminatory.
“While it might seem like the ‘wild west’ to those in the middle of this, Covid-19 hasn’t changed employment law overnight and not following correct redundancy procedures or selecting people because of their age is more likely to result in employment claims which will distract them from the important job of keeping their businesses going.
“Companies should be aware that they are at risk of tribunal claims if they attempt to use redundancies as a cloak for breaching employment rights.”
Glenn Hayes - Partner & National Head of Employment Law