Employment Law Assistance Services
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Employment Law Asistance

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Employment Law Assistance Impact Unfair Dismissal Claims.

Recent attempts by the government to reduce red tape for small businesses has seen the qualifying time for presenting claims for unfair dismissal rise to two years and a rule that claimants will have to pay costs when trying to bring their case to court.

The idea is that fewer frivolous cases will be brough forward if the claimant has to pay an upfront fee of £250 with the ET1 and a further fee if the claim is accepted of £1,000 which could rise to £30,000. The fees will of course be returned if the claimant wins their case.

Abigail Morris, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) policy adviser, said: "The BCC strongly supports proposals to reduce the number of weak and vexatious claims in the tribunal system. Introducing fees will not put off genuine claimants but will free firms from dealing with unmeritorious claims. Firms are nervous about taking on extra staff members in an uncertain economic climate. Complex and burdensome dismissal rules increase the 'fear factor' that if it doesn't work out with the employee - for whatever reason - the firm will either have to keep employing the individual or risk a tribunal."

Union general secretary Len McCluskey said "At a stroke of a pen, following a fraudulent consultation exercise whereby employers could 'vote' for their least-liked laws, a key defence against mistreatment is taken away from workers. And the Government does not even have the decency to announce this properly. How can this be in 2011?"

It is thought that although these changes will have some impact on the number of unfair dismissal claims on the grounds of race, sexual orientation, religion or disability, it is not thought that these will be dramatic.

The governments objective is to encourage employers to recruit more staff but it has been suggested that increasing the qualifying period to 2 years will be indirectly discriminatory against women who tend to have shorter employment periods.

The obvious problem of introducing fees is how legitimate claimants are going to finance the claim given that they will probably be out of a job, have little or no money at the same time as the government is cutting availability of legal aid as part of it's cost cutting program.