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employment tribunals – the new national lottery

Comment 9th July 2010

a combination of factors makes employment tribunals a lottery for employers

1 EU regulations (eg maternity provisions) have been incorporated into UK law in such a way that employers havent a clue what the right way to treat their staff is

2 lifting of award limits to which ETs used to be subject has increased their power to do damage if manipulated by parties involved

3 rules on evidence and 'informality of proceedings' are routinely abused

4 lay person involvement in tribunals results in bizarre and inconsistent findings

5 limited rights of appeals results in routine abuses of power by ET judges

6 it is practically impossible for  SME employer of up to 100 people to reasonably understand employment law in relevant areas

why does it matter?

1 because it drives discrimination under ground. Many employees cant get jobs because prospective employers are worried that by employing a 'protected minority' they will get caught out through failing to provide appropriate adjustments

2 it encourages employers to fire people immediate prior to their gaining rights after an initial period of employment (usually 12 months). at a macro level this turnover is bad for the business and bad for the economy as it reduces the incentive for employers to train their staff

3 the legal practictioners and insurers are the principal beneficiaries of the ET system

the solution:

1 root and branch redefinition of employee rights removing anything that isnt 100% clear for employers – this is easy – just look where all the judgments are coming from and remove these entitlements UNLESS they are 100% clear and 100% enforcable. most entitlements dont address deficiencies they just increase uncertainty and therefore reduce job prospects for those in these minorities the law seeks to protect

2 imposition of statutory limits on ET compensation

3 creation of £50 for both sides telephone mediation service to sort out minor employer employee disputes BEFORE they get out of hand and permit employment contracts to incorporate such provisions

3 statutory grievance and appeal procedures

4 sort out absurdities – you cant fire an employee who has walked off the job and obviously isnt coming back until you have written to him 5 times and given him endless chances to return to work/held his job open for a month at least

5 reform sick pay so the employer has some rights to know if his staff might turn up for work on a monday morning

Why does this matter?

because even if you sorted out half the above problems i could employ double the number of people!

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