My clients are always worried that no matter how fairly they treat a departing employee, the employee will meet a barrack room lawyer and be persuaded to “have a go” in an employment tribunal. Until the end of July this was easy. Proceedings could be issued without any fee, immediately creating a costly and time consuming headache for the employer. Claims would often have to be settled on a “nuisance” value, simply to make them go away.

There is now light at the end of the tunnel. The first set of official statistics since the introduction of employment tribunal fees have just been released. Unfair dismissal and failure to inform or consult on redundancy claims have fallen by around 40%. The number of “receipts” overall is 17% down on the same period in 2012 and although there has been an increase in equal pay and sex discrimination claims, it looks like the risk of a speculative claim is reduced.

This highlights the need to deal with matters properly. If good procedures are followed correctly the risk of a claim is reduced. Fees have made former employees think twice before issuing a claim, and the statistics suggest that proceedings will now only be issued where there is a realistic chance of success. We therefore recommend that Employers have their contracts policies and procedures reviewed and enquire about the Thompson Smith and Puxon Employment Law Retainer Agreement which offers legal advice at a fixed monthly cost.

In addition we hold a number of employment workshops at Thompson Smith and Puxon which employers may find useful.