Very much tied into the issues associated with discipline and grievance is the decision to dismiss for whatever reason.
Whether it be for performance, misconduct or redundancy, it is imperative to deal with the dismissal correctly if the possibility of an expensive claim is to be avoided. In situations where employers are contemplating a process that may lead to dismissal, we can guide them carefully through the steps needed to minimise risk.
If the worst case scenario has come about and a Tribunal application has been issued, then we can help with expert advice and representation. If it is clear that there are no sensible prospects for you, we will not hesitate to say so and will negotiate the best possible exit for you.
It should also be remembered that tribunal claims are extremely expensive. Although we will endeavour to minimise the legal expense, the harsh reality is that the employer will be faced with a disproportionate amount of management time fighting the case.
The 2011 and 2012 employment tribunal statistics show the number of single claims was down by 2% and multiple claims by 19%. The situation on multiple claims is perhaps not very surprising. A good number of these were trade union or conditional fee funded claims for Equal Pay on the part of large groups of public sector workers. Once the ripple effect had gone through the system we were left with a more normal environment. What is interesting is to look at the mix of the claims that have been issued. Ordinary unfair dismissal attracted 57,400 claims during 2009-2010 and by 2011-2012 this was down to 46,300. Similarly, sex discrimination claims were down from 18,200 in 2009-2010 to 10,800 in 2011-2012. Equal pay claims were down from 37,400 to 28,800 in the same two year period. Claims on the increase related to TUPE and redundancy which perhaps reflects the state of the economy and the restructuring that has been going on.
Perhaps the most alarming award was a figure of £4,445,023 for Race discrimination.
The highest award for unfair dismissal was £173,408 , less than the £241,942 we achieved for a Claimant in June of 2010 for “whistle blowing”, which was comfortably the highest tribunal award in its class. The normal maximum compensation award is currently capped at £74,200.
What is interesting to note is the number of costs orders that have been made in tribunal cases. Costs were awarded in 1,411 cases but this was rather distorted by the fact that one group claim, with 800 claimants, involved a costs order. Currently the rate of costs orders is less that 1%.