The recently-released tribunal statistics for the quarter October to December 2018 (Q4) show that claims continue to increase, with single claims up 23% on the same quarter in the previous year.

HR specialist Peninsula has highlighted the significant increase in the number of claims made relating to redundancy showing, it suggests, that employers are failing to meet their legal obligations when ending employment on these grounds.

They should ensure that legal advice is sought whenever seeking to dismiss staff, especially if a redundancy is being used because there are specific procedural requirements that have to be followed, Peninsula advises.

This can be the difference, it reminds employers, between a fair dismissal or having to pay a compensation award.

Another significant increase in the Q4 figures is the 56% rise in the claims brought due to detriment or dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy. Age, disability, race and sexual orientation discrimination claims also went up, compared to Q4 in 2017.

There were 4850 unfair dismissal claims in the quarter under review, nearly 3300 claims for breach of contract, just under 3200 claims concerning working time and over 4000 claims related to unauthorised deduction from wages.

Overall, in the calendar year January to December 2018, more than 38,700 single claims were submitted to the tribunal.

Advice to employers

Peninsula recommends that they should:

  • ensure they are not treating employees unfavourably, or dismissing them, because of their pregnancy; using this as an excuse could lead to an expensive tribunal claim

  • be aware that, no matter how small a wage deduction maybe, employees do not have to pay any fees to challenge it through Acas Early Conciliation or the employment tribunal

  • consider advice to settle a claim, whether through a settlement agreement or at the Early Conciliation stage, as this can reduce the financial risk of facing a tribunal and prevent the reputational risk of a tribunal judgment being published online

  • make sure they understand who is entitled to certain documents, what information is legally required to be included and when they have to provide these as providing the correct documentation can prevent them being brought in front of a tribunal.

Last reviewed 15 March 2019