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CIPD says tribunal system is “broken”

Employment Law & HR
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Two-thirds of employers claim they have no real protection against employees making unjustifiable claims to employment tribunals, according to research published on March 8.


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) gathered the views of more than 200 senior members with employee relations interests.

Their research found that 61% of respondents had experienced an employee claiming unfair dismissal and adding on a HR claim in the hope of getting more compensation, while 55% had faced a malicious complaint against their business. Just over half of the respondents said that the law on unfair dismissal should be amended to make it easier for employers to dismiss members of staff.

Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, claimed that the current tribunal system is "broken". Despite many recent attempts to find a solution, the volume of tribunal claims had increased and employers believed they have no protection against weak or speculative claims.

The survey also found that recent plans outlined by the government to increase the minimum period employees must work before they can claim unfair dismissal from 12 months to two years would only have a limited impact claim volumes. This is because many claims are linked to HR claims which can be made from day one of employment.

Emmot said: “The real problem is that the employment tribunal system itself is broken and its costs and benefits are wholly out of line. The Government needs to take a radical look at the existing machinery for protecting employment rights."

The survey also found that around 70% of employers use compromise agreements to avoid the risk of tribunal claims and more than half said their use of compromise agreements had increased in the last two years.

Since the CIPD's last survey in 2007, the average number of days spent on managing disciplinary cases has risen from 13 to 18 days and from nine to 14.4 days managing grievances. The figures appear to be higher for public sector organisations than those in the private sector.

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