High Court ruling puts spotlight on tribunals

Employers’ poor employee relations will be open to public and media scrutiny
following a landmark High Court ruling.

A successful legal challenge by campaigning group Public Concern at Work
means that everyone will have access to detailed information on employment
tribunal cases.

Already the tribunal service has voiced concern that disputes are more
likely to end up in court rather than being resolved because both sides will
want to clear their names publicly.

Currently public information is limited to basic details such as the name of
the applicant and the company. This data is kept on a central register where
the public can access it. Newspapers are also sent lists of cases held at their
local tribunal.

But following the decision made on 19 April in favour of Public Concern at
Work, the tribunal service will have to provide details on the people involved
and the allegations made.

The service has until 17 May to lodge an appeal.

Mark Cotton, deputy head of content at The Newcastle Journal, said more
information will "immediately lead to more coverage".

"It will be like cases in the criminal courts where we are given names
of defendants, their ages and addresses and the charges they face. With that
information you can quickly decide whether a case will be of interest," he
said.

Guy Dehn, director of Public Concern at Work, said having the information on
public record will benefit employers by putting off bogus claimants. Employers
will be able to check if candidates have a history of bringing claims.

But Lew Swift, head of HR at Aintree Hospitals, said unscrupulous employees
will be able to build a stronger case by finding out what the organisation had
been accused of before.

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