The Ministry of Justice has released the quarterly statistics for employment tribunal claims relating to October-December 2018. These statistics reveal that in the twelve months from January to December 2018, a total of 38,767 single tribunal claims were received by the tribunal. This is a significant amount of claims that have been brought by potential claimants, seeking a ruling against their current or ex- employer. With the justice department revealing that the outstanding caseload had dramatically increased in 2018, with the average waiting time for a claim to be heard reaching nearly seven months, this shows the continuing impact of the tribunal fee removal.
Turning to the quarterly statistics, this report reveals that tribunal claims have continued to increase each quarter, with a 23 per cent increase in single claims received in October-December 2018, compared to the same quarter in 2017. Looking in more detail, the statistics reveal the following compared to the same quarter in 2017:
- claims relating to a failure to inform and consult during a redundancy procedure increased by 118 per cent
- a 56 per cent rise was experienced by claims brought due to a detriment or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy
- discrimination claims relating to the protected characteristics of age, disability, race and sexual orientation all increased.
As a common trend, there were over 4,850 unfair dismissal claims brought in this three-month period. The high number of these claims shows that organisations are continuing to face challenges to their dismissal process and procedures, whether this is because the claimant does not agree with the reason relied on for the dismissal decision or feels they have been treated unfairly. The increase in redundancy claims highlights that the additional procedural requirements relating to information and consultation are, perhaps, being carried out incorrectly when organisations are reducing staff numbers or closing workplaces.
Interestingly, there was a slight rise of 5 per cent in the number of claims relating to the right to receive a written pay statement. This rise may be attributable to the increasing awareness of payslip rights due to the incoming changes where ‘workers’ will receive a right to a written pay statement from 6 April 2019 and the number of hours that vary pay will have to be stated on these. It will remain to be seen whether there is a further rise in these claims once the change occurs.
With tribunal compensation awards increasing with effect from April 2019, organisations are once again reminded of the importance of following fair procedures, providing correct documentation and taking action where warranted, rather than using matters such as an employee’s pregnancy as an ‘excuse’ to carry out less favourable action.