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Unfair dismissal – proposed changes

08 November 2011

The government has announced plans to increase the length of qualifying service for bringing claims of unfair dismissal from one to two years, from April 2012. They also plan to introduce a fee for all employment tribunal applications.

The cost is likely to be around £250 to lodge a claim with a further £1000 fee once the claim has been listed for a hearing and more if the claim is over £30,000.

  • Will these measures have a long term effect on the overall number of employment law claims? Probably. They would certainly make things a little fairer and would go some way towards countering the present culture of ‘tribunal blackmail’ that many employers have experienced.
  • Currently, there is no real requirement for a claimant to pay costs. Add to that the ease with which even the most spurious claims can be brought and you have a situation where many employers will be coerced into making termination payments, simply because it is cheaper to pay than to battle through the tribunal system.

Claims with genuine merit ought largely to be unaffected but those who bring claims purely with the intention of obtaining money from employers may well be deterred. We now wait to see whether the proposed changes materialise in the new year.

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