The ongoing increase in employment tribunals – Why businesses need to act carefully
HR managers are only too aware of the issues that are being caused by the global pandemic. This includes having to deal with remote working, business operating restrictions and redundancies.
When it comes to this last issue, HR teams have a responsibility for ensuring that businesses act responsibly and follow the rules.
However, it seems as though businesses may not be operating in this way on a significant number of occasions. This is shown by the fact that the number of cases being lodged at employment tribunals surged during the first three months of lockdown. The number of claims lodged by a single complainant between April and June was 10,318 compared to 8,772 for the same period in 2019, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. Given the current situation in the country, the problem seems set to continue, especially given that many employees do not seem to fully understand their responsibilities.
Rise in employment tribunals set to continue due to further redundancies
According to a recent report by the BBC, in August, 966 separate employers announced plans to make a total of 58,000 people redundant. This figure is four times higher than for the same period in 2019. Although, it is less than the figures for June and July this year which each saw 150,000 redundancies being planned.
What is clear is that redundancies will continue while the measures put in place to control the pandemic continue to have a profound negative effect on many businesses. With this in mind, top HR managers know how important it is for them to make sure that businesses act in the right way in order to ensure that employees are treated fairly and to take the pressure off an employment tribunal service that is already struggling to deal with the number of tribunals that are coming it’s way.
Many employers are unaware of their responsibilities
HR teams have an incredibly important role to play given that, according to a recent poll by ACAS, 24% of 2,000 companies questioned that said they were intending to make redundancies did not fully understand their legal responsibilities.
Given this situation, HR professionals are responsible for advising the business about the legitimate steps to follow during the redundancy process. The process must always be fair and balanced and there must be a full consultation process. This always applies when a business is considering redundancies and has not changed during the current crisis.
For this reason, experienced HR managers are working with businesses to develop an understanding of the processes that must be followed. They are also ensuring that decisions are made in the most humane way possible, for the benefit of the people who are facing redundancy.
It’s vital that businesses act carefully, in carrying out the required processes, in order to ensure that fairness is central to all decisions. This not only helps to protect employees; it also plays a part in helping to reduce the number of cases being referred to the employment tribunal service and protects businesses from costly judgments against them.
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Date Posted: November 13th 2020
Posted By: Jo Thompson