EEF calls for Government to ease tribunal burdens

Increased employment legislation and the UK’s growing compensation culture
have led to a significant increase in the number of frivolous claims to
employment tribunals, finds research by the Engineering Employers’ Federation.

It shows a quarter of claims to employment tribunals were withdrawn by the
applicant last year before reaching a hearing, compared to 17 per cent in 2000.

The study also reveals that in 2001 more than three-quarters of all claims
were settled or withdrawn before reaching a hearing, compared to 70 per cent in

Just 4 per cent submitted last year were upheld at hearings – down from 6.5
per cent in 2000.

The EEF’s director of employment policy, Peter Martin, called for the
Government to devote more resources to conciliation in order to limit the
number of claims being brought and to encourage disputes to be settled before
reaching a hearing.

"The figures show an increase in frivolous claims where there is
little, if any case, to answer. These claims are proving a significant drag on
management time and give strong backing to our call for the Government to
devote substantially more resources to conciliation."

The number of claims handled by the EEF in 2001 fell by 7 per cent in 2000
to 3,028 from 3,255.

Unfair dismissal claims fell to 48 per cent from 52 per cent, which Martin
believes shows the increasing incidence of other sorts of claims by applicants.

"The vast majority of tribunal awards and settlements remain
substantially below the figures in high-profile public cases.

"The EEF believes that these substantial awards have only served to
create a misleading impression and encouraged employees to pursue claims where
there is no legitimate grievance," said Martin.

By Ben Willmott

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