Last ditch review of Tribunal fees
Business Secretary Vince Cable has lost his seat in the General Election, so will not be returning to Westminster let to the Government. While he was still there he had ordered a review into the vexed question of Employment Tribunal fees. These came in during the Coalition, with a promise that they would be reviewed to see if justice was being prejudiced.
The figures speak for themselves, but there are no surprises. Business Department officials have found that the total number of claims at the employment tribunals fell by almost 70%, from 340,000 in the first quarter of the 2013-2014 financial year, to just over 110,000 in the third quarter of 2014-2015. In addition, sex discrimination claims were down by 82% from 21,000 to 3,500 over the same period, while the number of equal pay cases dropped by 72% from almost 27,000 to 7,500.
Dr Cable stated that the decision to introduce fees in the employment tribunals was “a very bad move and should be reversed”. He commented that “it is highly suggestive that the fees are discouraging people, particularly low paid women, from pursuing their rights”, although he did recognise that the introduction of mandatory early conciliation may have assisted in reducing the number of claims brought before the employment tribunals.
The Election result means it is very unlikely that the decision to impose fees will be reversed. While it is good that some spurious claims will be kept out, it is clear from the figures that many of claims not being brought because of fees are in fact good claims, where bad employers should have been brought to account. What price justice?