Employment tribunals: 18% increase in single claims during lockdown
Rise in employment tribunal single claims during lockdown
In the recent Ministry of Justice [MoJ] quarterly report, released in October, there has been a rise in single person tribunal claims which will continue to increase over the next year as the impact of the coronavirus epidemic takes hold on UK businesses.
- Employment tribunal claims involving individuals in the first quarter of 2020/21 (April to June 2020) increased by 18%, compared to the same period last year, to 10,000. Multiple claims, on the other hand, decreased by 43%.
- It means the outstanding tribunal caseload has risen by 31% to a record 37,000 cases, higher than the previous peak in Q2 2009/10.
The MoJ said the rise was most likely due to the rise in unemployment and changes to working conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Carrie-Ann Randall, Associate employment lawyer at Lawson-West Solicitors in Leicestershire, said of the findings:
"I advise on and attend many tribunals each month and I have personally seen the number of single claims rise in the last 2-3 months along with the rise in business failures or restructures due to the epidemic. This shows that although group redundancies are being made (with groups of over 20 people), there is a growing trend for individuals to make a stand and defend their employment rights corner. Although there are some very large employers in Leicestershire making redundancies right now, there is a clear trend for individuals to seek legal advice, not as part of a group action, which can sometimes involve trade unions and union representatives, but on their own merit, seeking out the fairest treatment and outcomes.
As the autumn economic downturn starts to hit home, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) comes to an end, and the increasing likelihood of further government restrictions loom, I firmly believe that the number of redundancies in our region will increase and the number of individual claims will also increase.
I've seen clients face clear employment injustices that should definitely go to a tribunal hearing and I've also seen hosts of claimants happy to negotiate a settlement agreement with their former employers, where they feel their employer has either been less than fair to them, they've faced age or sexual discrimination, unfair dismissal, or where proper redundancy procedures have not been followed. In all instances, the numbers of claims are up and I predict this trend will continue well into 2021."
Employment Tribunal backlog
Last month, the judiciary announced they will bolster employment tribunals with additional judges from other areas being deployed to assist and from 8 October employment judges will hold more virtual hearings in an attempt to clear the backlog of tribunals - the MoJ's report stating a 31% rise in outstanding tribunal cases for judges, having to cope with a higher number of contentious employment cases during the pandemic.
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