After new figures showed a sharp spike in the number of employment tribunal claims being lodged, North East business owners are being advised to take proactive steps to ensure they’re not the next ones to find themselves facing claims.
That’s the response of Sarah Hall, partner in the employment law team at Hay & Kilner Law Firm, to data from the Ministry of Justice which shows a 90 per cent rise in the number of single employment tribunals claims being made in the final quarter of last year, compared to the same period in 2016.
The increase followed on from a Supreme Court ruling last July, which found that the fees imposed by the Government for anyone wanting to pursue an employment tribunal claim were unlawful.
And with practical experience showing that the workplace issues leading to claims have often escalated to crisis point before the HR department is even aware of them, Sarah Hall is advising businesses to ensure that all those responsible for managing employees are equipped with the skills to handle and hopefully diffuse people issues at an early stage.
Sarah Hall says: “The cost to businesses in terms of the management time and money involved in fighting an employment tribunal claim can be very significant, and with the number of claims increasing so sharply, it is essential that businesses take steps to ensure their employment practices are comprehensive and up to date, and that their managers are fully trained.
Across the UK, the number of tribunal claims more than halved from 191,541 in 2012-13, the year before fees were introduced, to 88,476 in 2016-17, but after the removal of fee, the new upward trend is expected to continue this year and beyond.
In response to the need to address workplace situations which could lead to tribunals, Hay & Kilner has developed HR Showcase, a bespoke training package for owner/managers which uses interactive role plays scenarios to highlight how individuals and management teams can prepare themselves and their staff to manage them.
Sarah Hall continues:”Offering business owners and managers hands on experience in a realistic environment of how they can minimise the risks inherent in managing a workforce will help them make stronger, more proactive decisions when any issues arise for real.
“Employers can expect to see a continued increase in the number of tribunal claims, so anything that will help avoid claims is well worth knowing.”
Hay & Kilner’s next employment seminar, which will examine ‘The Golden Rules to Keep You Out Of Employment Tribunals , is being held at the Centre for Life on Thursday 19 April.
For further information on the free Centre for Life seminar, or on the Hay & Kilner HR Showcase training package, please contact Helen Ward at [email protected] or on 0191 232 8345.
Established in 1946, Hay & Kilner is one of North East England’s leading independent law firms and provides a full range of legal services to businesses and individuals from both within and outside the region.