Lawyers warn employment claims may spike after tribunal reforms

PROPOSED changes to employment tribunal laws risk encouraging lengthier, more expensive claims that could mean businesses having to pay uncapped compensation fees.

The employment tribunal reforms – announced yesterday by the government – aim to reduce unfair dismissal claims by changing the qualification period from one to two years. But the changes could lead unhappy employees to seek alternative access to the courts through discrimination claims, with the onus on the employer to dispute the claim and prove it false.

“If unfair dismissal claims are made harder then employees are more likely to find another way of phrasing a claim,” said employment lawyer Bettina Bender at CM Murray. “Discrimination claims are longer and harder to fight, with no cap on potential compensation.”

Compensation for unfair dismissal claims is currently capped at £65,300, but will rise to £68,400 on 1 February.