- Between October and December 2020, single claims increased by 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
- There was also an 82 per cent increase in multiple claims.
- The result has been tribunal outstanding caseload now rising to 51,000.
- 14,000 total claims were disposed of by the tribunal, which is a 24 per cent increase on the same period in 2019. This was due to a 66 per cent increase in multiple claim disposals.
- In this quarter, the type of claims which have increased the most from the same time last year include age and failure to consult on TUPE.
- Claims for age discrimination in particular increased by a significant 176 per cent.
- We have also seen a noticeable 46 per cent decrease of claims related to failure to consult on redundancy, likely as a result of the extension of the furlough scheme at this time.
Compared to October – December 2019
- Age discrimination – 176 per cent increase
- Failure to consult on TUPE – 120 per cent increase
- Breach of part-time worker regulations – 89 per cent increase
- Unfair dismissal – 28 per cent increase
- Sex discrimination – 13 per cent increase
- Failure to consult on redundancy – 46 per cent decrease
In the three-month period of October – December 2020:
- Unfair dismissal – nearly 7,000 claims were made
- Unauthorised deduction from wages – over 4,300 claims were made
- Breach of contract – over 3,900 claims were made
- Working time – over 4,000 claims were made
- Redundancy pay – over 1,900 claims were made
- Sex discrimination – over 1,300 claims were made
Full monthly breakdown for 2020
- January – 3,799 single claims
- February – 3,480 single claims
- March – 3,838 single claims
- April – 3,783 single claims
- May – 3,378 single claims
- June – 3,873 single claims
- July – 3,964 single claims
- August – 3,811 single claims
- September – 4,189 single claims
- October – 4,645 single claims
- November – 4,767 single claims
- December – 4,811 single claims
- Total – 48,338 single claims
Of the claims dealt with in this quarter (October to December):
- 20 per cent of claims were dismissed upon withdrawal
- 27 per cent were settled through ACAS conciliated settlements
- 9 per cent were struck out
- 4 per cent were default judgements.
What this means:
These latest set of statistics are a helpful look at a period of time in which we faced increased restrictions across the UK as a result of the rise in coronavirus cases, including a last-minute extension to the furlough scheme at the end of October.
As usual, October to December 2020 saw a large number of claims submitted to the employment tribunal, with over 14,000 claims submitted, which remains a reflection on the removal of tribunal fees. The continued increase in the number of claims, and subsequent increase in backlog, can also be attributed to the pandemic and altered working conditions as a result.
It is not surprising that unfair dismissal claims have risen on the same period in 2019, something likely attributed to companies acting in ways they would not usually do as they struggled to respond to the pandemic. Interestingly, however, we are also seeing a significant decrease in claims regarding failure to consult on redundancy, which is likely due to the extension of the furlough scheme in this period meaning less redundancies were necessary.
Once again, we are seeing a substantial number of discrimination claims being brought, with a noticeable increase in age discrimination claims, showing that employers are still failing to completely follow the legal obligations placed upon them in this area. Age discrimination in particular could show that younger workers are being preferred to their older counterparts in redundancy situations, which if poorly managed can result in costly discrimination claims.
Therefore, although the figures do show a slight decrease to issues of race discrimination in this quarter than seen between July and September 2020, it remains essential that employers are reminded of the dangers of discrimination.
It is also interesting to see such an increase in the failure to consult during a TUPE transfer. Employers need to be aware of their legal obligation to do this, and the potential consequences for not doing so.
What can employers do?
As said above, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a present concern for organisations and they must make sure they are legally compliant in their response to it. It is important to remember that employment law is not suspended due to the pandemic; now more than ever, they need to get these key procedures right and avoid the risk of being taken to a tribunal. Crucially, all decisions to dismiss an employee must follow a fair process and are reasonable.
Taking advice to settle a claim, whether through a settlement agreement or at the Early Conciliation stage, can reduce the financial risk of facing a tribunal and prevents the reputational risk of a tribunal judgment being published online.
As stated before, companies should also maintain an equality and diversity policy that outlines the steps the company will take to combat discrimination arising in the workplace. Specifically, employers need to be aware of the legal obligation placed upon them to make reasonable adjustments to assist disabled employees.
Despite recent rumours, there is still no confirmation from the government that tribunal fees will return. If and how this would work does remain to be seen; due to the nature of their abolition, a new procedure for submitting fees is extremely unlikely to follow the same processes as before.
Source: CIPD HR-Inform