The number of claims accepted by employment tribunals has fallen by a fifth.
Employment tribunals accepted 151,000 claims in 2008-09, a decrease of 20% on the 2007-08 figure, latest figures by the Tribunals Service have shown.
Multiple claims accepted for 2008-09 fell by 13% on the previous year, but this figure excluded the number of airline employees who resubmitted claims for breaches of the Working Time Directive in 2007-08.
But the data revealed an increase in the number of single claims accepted, which rose to 63,000 in 2008-09 – a rise of 15% on the year before.
Unfair dismissal claims have overtaken equal pay as the most frequently lodged claim, and redundancy pay cases have rocketed. The number of unfair dismissal cases accepted between April 2008 and March 2009 rose by 29% to 52,711, up from 40,941 the previous year.
Redundancy pay claims shot up from 7,313 last year to 10,839 for the current year, while cases for redundancy – failure to inform and consult – more than doubled at 11,371.
Equal pay claims fell by more than a quarter to 45,748 for 2008-09 – down from 62,706 the previous year, and Working Time Directive cases plummeted to 23,976, compared to 55,712 the previous year.
Sex discrimination cases also dropped by 31%.
XpertHR has a wealth of information and guidance for employers and HR on how to handle tribunal claims.
Elsewhere, Personnel Today has learned that the Employment Appeal Tribunal has handed down a judgment in Da-Bell v NSPCC to increase the bands of damages that can be awarded for injury to feelings in discrimination cases.
Consequently, the upper limits will now be:
£6,000 for the lower band (increased from £5,000)
£18,000 for the middle band (increased from £15,000)
£30,000 for the top band (increased from £25,000).
Rachel Dineley, partner in the employment and pensions group at law firm Beachcroft, warned that claimants would undoubtedly want to make the most of the ruling if they can demonstrate their feelings were badly hurt.
“More than ever before, employers need to ensure that the culture of their organisations is inclusive and that any incidents of discrimination are promptly dealt with,” she said.