Employment Tribunals are on the rise – and expected to continue as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Here the Taylor Bracewell team take a look at which type of claims are likely to increase over the next year

It is no surprise that claims to the Employment Tribunal have increased by 18 per cent, compared to the same quarter the previous year, for the period of April to June 2020, according to the Ministry of Justice quarterly statistics.

We predict that this figure will increase further over the coming months as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the winding up of the furlough scheme expected in April 2021.

What type of claims are likely to increase over the next year?

Whistleblowing

Most employers, without a doubt, will have dealt with a query relating to their obligations in some form or another. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated the law. Employers should be particularly wary of ‘furlough fraud’ and dealing with concerns about health and safety. This might include situations where an employee has refused to attend work out of fear of contracting the virus.

Discrimination

Discrimination is when an individual is put at a disadvantage because of a protected characteristic. The characteristics include disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race religion or belief.

This year, the UK’s attention has been firmly drawn towards equality for all with the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements, the consultation relating to mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting, and the topical debate about if individuals should be forced to take the vaccine.

Discrimination claims are likely to surge and we encourage employers to consider discrimination when considering any type of decision-making.

Unfair dismissal

When the furlough scheme eventually comes to an end, it is highly likely that businesses across the UK will face the daunting prospect of making employees redundant. We predict that Employment Tribunals are likely to be inundated with these types of claims for the foreseeable future. Employers should plan for redundancy, ensuring that they have sufficient time to go through the necessary steps before terminating an employee’s contract.

Why is this important?

Employment Tribunal claims can be costly, stressful, and disruptive. More often than not, a lack of planning and knowledge of current employment law lead to an increase in disputes within the workplace.

While you cannot always prevent an Employment Tribunal claim being brought, employers can minimise the risk of facing a claim, and the damage if the worst happened, by obtaining up-to-date legal advice as soon as possible.

For further information, please contact Harriet Gardner on 01302 965250 or by email at:

harriet@taylorbracewell.co.uk

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