Categories:Employment

By Daniel Barnett

Employment law: has it really gone too far?

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Excellent points, very well made. The only issue you might have stressed further is the huge inequality of power that exists between most employees and most employers. If costs were routinely awarded to employers then de facto the ability of employees to exercise their rights would be severely curtailed unless backed by a trade union. In my opinion the Employment Tribunal system is a model which could be usefully expanded to other parts of the the court system where the costs rule effectively prevents the average person pursuing their claims.

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  • Your opening line would not be out of place in the Daily Mail.

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  • Some great points here Daniel. I particularly like the one about self representation, and I agree with the general sentiment that there is little evidence of Tribunal bias towards employees. Just look at the success rates at Tribunal, they don't favour the employee, its the out of court settlements that tend to do that.
    Wasn't sure about the point regarding panel members being appointed by the TUC/CBI. Many more experienced ones may have been appointed by that method, but I thought they were now openly recruited?

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  • Tabloids do rants so that's not much of a problem. Daniel makes good points but there is more than a grain of truth in what the Mail - and the British Chambers of Comerce - say. Self representation by employers is OK in theory but not in practice - the formalities of tribunal procedure, perceived or real, frighten employers into using lawyers or the likes of Peninsula. That suggests the solution lies in updating Lord Donovan's original informal tribunal ideas. Mediation as currently available is not the answer but in my view provides the clue to working out the best way to sort out what is a real problem even if the Mail - and the BCC - did go over the top as Daniel says.

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  • I think you miss two key points:
    1) Employers do not know how much they are realistically facing in financial terms if they lose. Many will claim discrimination for which does not face a cap. Would you like to be the individual that saved a few thousand in legal fees only to lose far more in compensation? It is unlikely to happen but the threat is always there and that is intimidating for employers
    2) Tribunals are public and the negative publicity which ensues can be very damaging irrespective of its merits or truth.
    If claimants had to state the financial claims upfront and were restricted to claiming this or there were a ET imposed cap then we would see fewer lawyers involved.

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  • I would suggest that it is far more terrifying for the employee who rarely have the funds to employer lawyers. The ET1 form is difficult enough without adding extra financila claims to it. If it was truely just neither side would need to be represented a judge would listen and decide it can never be equal if one side is represented and the other is not. Believe it or not employees are not well-versed in employment law and as legal representation is around the cost of a porshe they will normally be bull-dozed (bullied) into submission.

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