Tribunal judge criticises aspects of new Employment Bill

The
judge who heads the employment tribunal system has criticised parts of the new
Employment Bill aimed at reducing the number of tribunals.

Judge
John Prophet, whose views were outlined in a private memo reported by The
Guardian, is unhappy with plans to make all employees involved in workplace
disputes go through internal company grievance procedures before making an
application to an employment tribunal.

Those
workers who don’t do this risk losing half of any potential award.

The
judge said sacked workers often have no access to grievance and disciplinary
procedures and he thinks the reforms could be expensive and time-consuming for
firms as well as employees.

A
DTI spokesman told Personnel Today Prophet had misunderstood aspects of the
bill.

However
Owen Warnock, a partner at employment law specialists Eversheds, said he shared
some of Prophet’s concerns.

Warnock
said while the government is concerned with the recent rise in tribunal cases
it is ‘not addressing the root of the issue’, that there are more claims
because the cap on unfair dismissal awards has been raised from £12,500 to
£50,000.

By Quentin Reade

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