Employment Tribunals were originally established in such a way as to give employees the ability to pursue claims in an easier manner.
One of the consequences of this is that a Claimant does not have to pay a fee when lodging a claim. This makes it much easier for employees or ex-employees to lodge claims against business owners. This explains why there has been such a high volume of claims in recent years. A Claimant will not suffer any penalties for having lodged a claim as long as it is not considered “vexatious” by the tribunal. In reality, it is quite rare for a claim to be considered without any merits at all. So, a culture has developed where Claimants feel that they “may as well” lodge a claim as they can always withdraw at a later date.
An interesting feature of employment tribunals is that costs are generally not awarded, except in very exceptional circumstances. This means that a Claimant does not have any fear of being made to pay the company’s legal costs if the claim is unsuccessful. Generally, companies are forced into instructing legal representation when a claim is lodged against them. Employers have to be extremely careful about how they deal with claims, and legal advice is generally a necessity. Often, employers take a commercial decision about claims and decide to settle early. Even though the employer may think that the employees claim has no chances of success, it may cost them thousands of pounds to prove it. Consequently, employers decide to pay an amount to the employee which is less than their potential exposure to legal fees.
The exception to this is Employers who have Employment Tribunal Insurance. This means that the employer does not have to pay any legal fees or settlement and can fight the claim to save their name. PLS Solicitors offers various types of protection to employers and should you wish to discuss any issues relating to employment law please contact Adam Pavey.
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