Changes to Employment Tribunal Claims

The time limit imposed on Employment Tribunal Claims is far too short. By the time the average worker has decided they have been unfairly treated and then found that "free advice" is almost impossible to obtain the deadlines have already been exceeded. Even in cases where Trade Unions are involved, unless your Rep is an expert and is not already snowed under with work you can exceed the time limits or submit a substandard claim.

In cases where Equality Legislation applies many cases are being lost on 'technicalities' even though discrimination has occurred.

The system is supposed to help the victims but without legal representation you are at a massive disadvantage. This is unjust.

Why is this idea important?

The time limit imposed on Employment Tribunal Claims is far too short. By the time the average worker has decided they have been unfairly treated and then found that "free advice" is almost impossible to obtain the deadlines have already been exceeded. Even in cases where Trade Unions are involved, unless your Rep is an expert and is not already snowed under with work you can exceed the time limits or submit a substandard claim.

In cases where Equality Legislation applies many cases are being lost on 'technicalities' even though discrimination has occurred.

The system is supposed to help the victims but without legal representation you are at a massive disadvantage. This is unjust.

Reform the National Minimum Wage to allow profit-share enterprises

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

Why is this idea important?

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

Sale of services: clarity on legal insurers & unions

I want two pieces of clarity.

  1. The same consumer protection service should cover legal insurers & the legal insurance work of trades unions.  At the moment if you ring Consumer Direct about a rip-off by a trades union, they tell you to try the Financial Services Authority. Try them and they say try the Certification Office. I pressed my point on the phone so the boss of the helpline office rang me back to say that this was not a political thing; unions do other things apart from legal insurance, and that's the reasoning "like getting you cheap food at the canteen" he said. But a legal insurere that also offers human resources advice or is bundled with the services of Cardsave or the Federation of Small Businesses is covered. Likewise unions have no trouble registering with the FSA for their work flogging financial services to the mailing list, but don't want to register as legal insurers. On to the Cerfication Office: "complaints regarding a union’s failure to represent a member adequately, or at all" are not covered. That's what they say on their web site.
     
  2. Legal insurers who use no-win no-fee lawyers should be transparent about it. At the moment some legal insurers pay no insurance premium tax: all the money goes to the broker. They charge no-win no-fee lawyers such as Shoesmiths referral fees, accoding to the company quoted in an Observer article: "It's the only source of income we get", said someone at DAS legal insurance.

    Now, if the whole edifice of a legal insurance company is funded by no-win no-fee lawyers, most consumers would cancel their subscription and think of another way to get such lawyers. They would be right to do so. Apart from a murkey hope that a legal firm can use cross-subsidise cases there is no excuse for running such a service and a murkey hope is no hope at all.

Why is this idea important?

I want two pieces of clarity.

  1. The same consumer protection service should cover legal insurers & the legal insurance work of trades unions.  At the moment if you ring Consumer Direct about a rip-off by a trades union, they tell you to try the Financial Services Authority. Try them and they say try the Certification Office. I pressed my point on the phone so the boss of the helpline office rang me back to say that this was not a political thing; unions do other things apart from legal insurance, and that's the reasoning "like getting you cheap food at the canteen" he said. But a legal insurere that also offers human resources advice or is bundled with the services of Cardsave or the Federation of Small Businesses is covered. Likewise unions have no trouble registering with the FSA for their work flogging financial services to the mailing list, but don't want to register as legal insurers. On to the Cerfication Office: "complaints regarding a union’s failure to represent a member adequately, or at all" are not covered. That's what they say on their web site.
     
  2. Legal insurers who use no-win no-fee lawyers should be transparent about it. At the moment some legal insurers pay no insurance premium tax: all the money goes to the broker. They charge no-win no-fee lawyers such as Shoesmiths referral fees, accoding to the company quoted in an Observer article: "It's the only source of income we get", said someone at DAS legal insurance.

    Now, if the whole edifice of a legal insurance company is funded by no-win no-fee lawyers, most consumers would cancel their subscription and think of another way to get such lawyers. They would be right to do so. Apart from a murkey hope that a legal firm can use cross-subsidise cases there is no excuse for running such a service and a murkey hope is no hope at all.

Common sense juries allowed in some employment tribunals

This is an extra law but could save a lot of others.

  • Juries where requested by both sides, or one side at an appeal case
  • Juries perhaps in cases where the employee gave up their right to damages, but wanted the case to be heard more like a criminal case, for a statement of guilt and deterrant against future wrongs.

Why is this idea important?

This is an extra law but could save a lot of others.

  • Juries where requested by both sides, or one side at an appeal case
  • Juries perhaps in cases where the employee gave up their right to damages, but wanted the case to be heard more like a criminal case, for a statement of guilt and deterrant against future wrongs.

employment tribunals – the new national lottery

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 is this idea important?

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

Rebalance the costs of industrial tribunals

When industrial tribunals were first implemented they were designed to be a low cost & fair way to resolve differences between employers and employees. They were specifically designed to operate in the absence of legal representation in order to minimise costs to both parties.

The situation has changed. With the proliferation of no win no fee lawyers a not inconsiderable industry has sprung up and has badly weighed against the emplyer.

This is how it works:

A disgruntled empolyee engages a no win no fee lawyer, the deal they strike is based on the lawyer winning and claiming costs from the employer and perhaps sharing in any payout awarded or negotiated. So far so good you may think – obviously the lawyer won’t take a case without a reasonable prospect of succeeding and therefore there is an automatic balance against frivolous or malicious cases. Unfortunatley this is not so because the burdern of costs and proof as so unequal:

The employees solicitor has only to write a letter with a summary of the alegations and apply for an industial tribunal hearing – cost for this is negligible and surely less than £100. The employer at this point is faced with the following:
1) Engaging their own lawyer (only a fool would try to do this in house).
2) Fully investigate and document all of the allegations – usually this involves major amounts of time of SENIOR personel
3) Work closey with their lawyer to prepare the case
4) Arrange to cover their (senior) staff whilst the tribunal is to be held – whilst not knowing how long the tribunal will last or if it will be adjourned.
4) Go through the arbitration process not knowing if they will win or not (even if their case is very solid)

This process is very expensive and in our case is always more than £10,000. There is then the prosepect of the claimant winning damages on top of this. Even if the employee looses there is no way to recover the employers costs of the case

So the costs to the emplyees lawyer start at £100, the cost of receiving this letter runs to £10,000 plus.

There’s an obvious way out for the employer (which is what we do). We negotiate with the employees lawyer to acheive an “out of court” agreement. The employees lawyer wins because they will always recover more than their £100, the employee wins because they receive “compensation” the employer looses – every time, regardless of right or wrong.

This amounts to legalised extortion.

My idea is very simple, make the no win no fee lawyer responsible for the employers costs should they loose. This way it would be worth the employer taking the case to tribunal as there would be a prospect of recovering the costs of doing so. It would also encourage no win no fee lawyers to investigate their clients claims and remove many of the current frivolous or malicious cases from ever begining in the first place.

Why is this idea important?

When industrial tribunals were first implemented they were designed to be a low cost & fair way to resolve differences between employers and employees. They were specifically designed to operate in the absence of legal representation in order to minimise costs to both parties.

The situation has changed. With the proliferation of no win no fee lawyers a not inconsiderable industry has sprung up and has badly weighed against the emplyer.

This is how it works:

A disgruntled empolyee engages a no win no fee lawyer, the deal they strike is based on the lawyer winning and claiming costs from the employer and perhaps sharing in any payout awarded or negotiated. So far so good you may think – obviously the lawyer won’t take a case without a reasonable prospect of succeeding and therefore there is an automatic balance against frivolous or malicious cases. Unfortunatley this is not so because the burdern of costs and proof as so unequal:

The employees solicitor has only to write a letter with a summary of the alegations and apply for an industial tribunal hearing – cost for this is negligible and surely less than £100. The employer at this point is faced with the following:
1) Engaging their own lawyer (only a fool would try to do this in house).
2) Fully investigate and document all of the allegations – usually this involves major amounts of time of SENIOR personel
3) Work closey with their lawyer to prepare the case
4) Arrange to cover their (senior) staff whilst the tribunal is to be held – whilst not knowing how long the tribunal will last or if it will be adjourned.
4) Go through the arbitration process not knowing if they will win or not (even if their case is very solid)

This process is very expensive and in our case is always more than £10,000. There is then the prosepect of the claimant winning damages on top of this. Even if the employee looses there is no way to recover the employers costs of the case

So the costs to the emplyees lawyer start at £100, the cost of receiving this letter runs to £10,000 plus.

There’s an obvious way out for the employer (which is what we do). We negotiate with the employees lawyer to acheive an “out of court” agreement. The employees lawyer wins because they will always recover more than their £100, the employee wins because they receive “compensation” the employer looses – every time, regardless of right or wrong.

This amounts to legalised extortion.

My idea is very simple, make the no win no fee lawyer responsible for the employers costs should they loose. This way it would be worth the employer taking the case to tribunal as there would be a prospect of recovering the costs of doing so. It would also encourage no win no fee lawyers to investigate their clients claims and remove many of the current frivolous or malicious cases from ever begining in the first place.

Employment Tribunal Reform

Although it is important that employees and former employees have easy access to Employment Tribunals a change should be made to require applicants to pay a deposit that wouldl be refunded in the event that their claim succeeds. This would be similar to the requirement for a deposit for claims before a small claims court.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Although it is important that employees and former employees have easy access to Employment Tribunals a change should be made to require applicants to pay a deposit that wouldl be refunded in the event that their claim succeeds. This would be similar to the requirement for a deposit for claims before a small claims court.