More employee tribunals create significant risk for business

3rd October 2019

Tribunals on the increase – Protecting your business against disgruntled employees is getting harder.

Tribunal statistics issued by the government show that Employment Tribunal Claims are up 26% year on year. The statistic should be a wake-up call for businesses to take action. Proactive steps to minimise the risks of these claims being brought forward should now be a priority.

The Supreme Court ruling in 2017 has added fuel to claims, with rises over the last two years. With Gender equality high on the agenda the 69% increase in sex discrimination claims should come as no surprise. But it’s not just sex discrimination. Claims are up in lots of areas, including race, disability, breach of contract and unfair dismissal.

If you get to an employment tribunal, chances are you won’t win. Of the 9383 claims heard 90% were won by the employee, so, what chance does an employer have?

Employee tribunals: What can be done to protect your business?

Educate managers on employment law and process and procedure

Managers should have a good basic understanding of how to take staff through formal procedures.  Where there are issues with performance, conduct, absence, etc managers should know how to deal with it. The key is finding a way that avoids conflict and minimises allegations of discrimination. It is also important they know how to deal with any issues that do arise to ensure that everything is handled by the book. No employee should be left feeling like there issue wasn’t handled appropriately. Offering training and support on these matters to your managers can help ensure that everyone understands what is expected.

Be careful with emails

Emails can sometimes make or break a tribunal case. Having things in writing can sometimes help support a case and be evidence to show that everything was done by the book. However, employees can often be flippant with internal emails and this could put your company at risk of tribunals. You need to ensure that your managers are adopting a professional email manner. When dealing with issues everything should be taken seriously so that nothing in writing can be used against the company.

Make sure everyone is aware of policies

Having comprehensive policy documents in place is the best way to protect your company from tribunals. Ensuring you have policies that cover things such as absence, discipline and bullying will help everyone understand the rules. These policies need to be made available to employees at all times, so that they are constantly aware of what is expected from them and how things work at your company. This information should be available in the company handbook, but another great way to make sure they are always easily accessible is by uploading them to a self-serviced cloud-based HR system.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Companies often need help to ensure they avoid things like tribunals. Having an employment helpline is a good way to do this. Most HR situations rely on a delicate balance.  It’s about saying the right thing with the employee and having rock-solid paperwork to back it up. Having an employment professional on hand to seek advice, or bounce potential solutions off of, should be a must for any savvy small business owner.

A good employment helpline should be able to assist you with the general day to day issues to keep you legally compliant.  The best ones provide additional services that set your business up correctly. So, policies and procedures, employee terms and conditions, and a handbook for employees to pull it all together.

Employment Guardian Brochure

FMP's Employment Guardian will provide you with access to an Employees Telephone Advice Service and if you require them, a range of employment services such as employment contracts, handbooks, letters and documents are also available.

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