Cases settled outside court

Nearly half of all firms are more likely to settle out of court than go to an employment tribunal since the introduction of increased compensation payouts.

An exclusive Personnel Today survey has revealed that the increase in the upper limit of compensation that can be awarded to claimants at employment tribunals from £12,000 to £50,000 has made employers much more cautious. 60 per cent of respondents also reported a rise in the number of disputed cases going to tribunal.

The results indicate a surge in employment disputes over the past 12 months settled both out of court and at tribunal and, as a consequence, an increase in the amount of time and money employers are spending administering and settling claims.

Helen Gopsill, HR manager for food distribution firm Watson and Philip, which employs more than 2,000 people at 22 sites, explained that employment tribunals take up a huge amount of her time. She said, “On average it would take me four to five days to gather the evidence necessary and prepare for each case.”

Gopsill said although her firm won most of its cases she would be more likely to consider settling out of court since the introduction of the increase in the upper rate of compensation.

The survey illustrates how much time employment tribunals cost personnel directors, managers and officers over a year.

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