City employers seek alternatives to tribunal route for disputes

An alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service for employment disputes has
been launched in response to demand from City firms.

The City Disputes Panel (CDP), a not-for-profit organisation which provides commercial
ADR services, is fielding a panel of 25 professionals – including employment
lawyers and barristers, HR consultants, and judicial members with experience of
tribunal work – to help employers solve potentially damaging and expensive
internal disputes confidentially.

CDP chief executive Karl Davies claimed the succession of expensive,
high-profile employment tribunal cases involving City firms in the past few
years, such as that of Louise Barton against Investec Henderson Crosthwaite,
was not the main motivation for employers.

"In many a case, costs were becoming disproportionate to the issue –
one member said the costs estimate in his disciplinary case exceeded the
maximum award. Some organisations would buy off unmeritorious claims."

CDP is the first organisation to respond to last year’s calls from the
Employment Tribunal System Taskforce for pilot mediation and ADR schemes to
take pressure off the tribunal system.

Davies said: "There is a surprising lack of support for employers. For
those few that do have mediation clauses in their employment contracts, the
worry has been finding mediators if they ever needed to use them."

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