Lawyers slam government plans to restrict unfair dismissal claims

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  • Would this also apply to all the wasters in the house of commons?

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  • In a company of six people in a Harrogate-based communications company I saw three staff leave in three months, two of them in tears. Since then the firm has had an entire new team approximately every 12 months for the last several years!! I was sacked just within the 3 month period for staying away from work with a heavy cold! I have an impeccable work record over thirty years and was told if I took any grievance (I lost another job as a result) it would be "malicious!" What is going to be done about abusive employers who use the law to wreck people's lives??

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  • The US economy has done ok without unfair dismissal law over the years.
    It was originally introduced into UK law to reduce the available pretexts for wildcat strikes at a time when Union power was at its height and being wielded irresponsibly.
    Now the Unions have been largely tamed and industrial relations law reformed, what purpose does it serve?
    It is a radical proposal, but one which deserves serious consideration.

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  • Employers should be able to fire people "at will" - as they do in many U.S states. Many of these critics have never run a business, had to make a profit, had to hire people, or risk any of their own money. Solicitors - the most risk-averse and least entrepreneurial people on earth - are the last ones you shoudl be asking for comments about this.
    If you are fired, you simply get another job - or you create one. This is what happens in America and there is less stimga about being fired in the U.S because it seen as part and parcel of a normal labor market. You dust yourself down, have a few beers, and get a new job. If the playing field is level, it works fine.

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  • A good suggestion, why should there be statutory interference in what is a matter of contract? The inability to dismiss employees without going through consultation and fair selection, which is potentially always open to challenge will increase the UKs competitiveness and allow employers to move swiftly rather than drag out a process where productivity diminishes due, in part, to uncertainty in the workplace. The minimum notice period should, however be looked to strike an appropriate balance between employer and employee.

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  • What is completely missing from this debate the actual global perspective. The UK government already boast about how the UK is ranked 1st in the EU and 4th in the entire world by the World Bank in the index of places where it is "easiest to do business"
    http://www.ukti.gov.uk/investintheuk/whytheuk.html
    The fact is that it is already remarkably easy to sack people in the UK when compared to the rest of the developed world.
    Workers rights are not holding back the economy. It's multi-millionaire venture capitalists like Beecroft who wrote this outrageous report who are really responsible.
    http://collectiveinvective.blogspot.com/2011/10/enemy-of-blog-2.html

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  • I suspect the whingeing is more a result of lots of lucrative unfair dismissal defence work evaporating.
    Mangwana says: "Worse still, this proposal would allow employers to sack staff who are performing productively and effectively with impunity.”
    What the hell would they want to sack them for if they were performing productively and effectively?
    Employment law has become a legalistic nightmare - just try reading some of the Court of Appeal judgments, usually public sector cases funded by unions, to see how absurdly compicated the law is, and how incapable of comprehension by a lay employer.
    These lawyers who are quoted seem to think that an employee should have a right to a job. They don't. They are employed for a purpose, and if that purpose disappears or they are no longer performing it properly it should be possible to fire them with the minimum formality.
    Sadly, we are now having to live in the real world, where we are having to compete with countries like India and China, where employment law is an oxymoron. We no longer have captive markets, and subidising superfluous employees indefinitely is no longer an option.

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  • It would appear to me that the last commentator has not worked in the US where lack of employment protection has created a workforce, particularly at senior management level, that is paranoid and terribly insecure, not a great model to emulate in my opinion.
    A far more sensible suggestion would be to allow costs to be awarded in ET's where it is clear that either an employee or an employer has been vexatious. That might focus the mind a little of employees who feel that they can bring a spurious claim with few consequences for themselves.

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  • Employment lawyers slam plans to reduce employment law cases
    Amazing

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  • I doubt this will come in. More likely it's been leaked so that the proposals which emerge from the current red-tape challenge will seem moderate in comparison. This proposal would make no difference at all to the complex cases referred to by City Gent. It would just serve to make people more insecure, even less likely to spend (therefore counterproductive from the perspective of what prompted the report in the first place), subject to the arbitrary whim of their boss and more likely to claim discrimination (which is largely exempt from interference due to EU law).
    Yes, it's a matter of contract but why ignore the human element and the impact on the individual (and any dependents) of losing a job?
    In any case, as the qualifying service period for unfair dismissal will shortly be increased to two years, I think the balance is about right. It's fairly easy to dismiss for redundancy already if the role is no longer needed. Gross misconduct dismissals are equally easy to carry out with a fair process. Moderate underperformance which isn't quite bad enough to justify the sack is more difficult, but all the more reason to manage employees properly especially during the first 2 years of employment.

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  • Re. the 9.12 am post not necessarily any more so than Mr Beecroft, a man who I believe is involved in wonga.com selling loans at very high rates to people struggling in the downturn, producing a report saying employers should pretty much be allowed to remove employees willy nilly.
    Simon is pretty much right here. Extreme positions and posts from both sides in this debate protecting vested interests. Something needs to be done to deal with vexatious claims by employees for certain. A costs regime in the Employment Tribunal and possibly also the imposition of fees (subject to exemptions as in the courts) as suggested could probably achieve that.
    However that is one thing, a report like this seeking to pretty much remove all statutory protection would create a country I like many don't particularly want to live in. The point that in large part the economic crisis has been caused by venture capitalists, banks etc. rather than ordinary workers has already been made as well.

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  • Stating that commentators are objecting to the proposals merely because they are protecting their own interests is misguided.
    I am an employment lawyer. I am confident that there will be work for me whether or not unfair dismissal legislation continues in its current form. Don't forget, after all, that there are plenty of labour lawyers (and, presumably, work) in the US where there is no unfair dismissal regime.
    All that will happen, in my view, is that claimants will increasingly rely upon discrimination in order to challenge any dismissal. Happy days for us lawyers, perhaps, with the increased fees that discrimination claims carry? Be in no doubt - vexatious litigants will continue to bring unmeritorious claims, regardless of the statutory framework on which they seek to rely.
    My practice is pretty much 50/50 between employers and employees, so I do not express to have any preference. However, I do agree with previous posters about the negative effect on morale (and the economy) that dispensing with protection from unfair dismissal will have.
    It is already easy enough to dismiss somebody. You just need to have a fair reason and to follow a fair procedure which effectively gives the employee an opportunity to defend themselves and put across their point of view. How can this be "crippling" business?

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  • Poor performance is already a fair reason dismiss an employee. It is relatively easy to manufacture a poor performance by setting unrealistic performance goals and placing pressure on the employee to resign. Is it the government's suggestion that an employment tribunal simply has no jurisdiction to hear a dismissal labelled 'poor performance'?
    Unfortunately, there is a huge stigma in this country relating to dismissals with a serious adverse impact on an employee's ability to gain suitable employment or any future employment. This places an additional burden on the welfare system. This stigma is already enough to make employees work hard to support their families and themselves and maintain their quality of life.
    A dismissal has an tremendous adverse impact on an individual's quality of life including an in ability to buy goods and services, these same employers need individuals to buy their products and sevices.
    Tribunal proceedings have a further adverse effect on an individual's future employability which I would suggest deters many individuals from bringing meritous claims.
    With regard to the complaint of increasing Tribunal costs, all spurious claims should be struck out at a preliminary hearing.
    I would like to see measures to secure greater compliance with employment legislation by employers and recruitment agencies.
    We should also consider adopting the model applied by certain other European countries whereby an employer may not dismiss an employee without the sanction of the court.
    In addition, we should give serious consideration to imposing fines upon employers and recruitment agencies for breaches of employment law.

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  • " ... claimants will increasingly rely upon discrimination in order to challenge any dismissal. Happy days for us lawyers, perhaps, with the increased fees that discrimination claims carry?"
    This sums up why lawyers like employment law to be as complex as possible - because they can then use it to screw money out of hapless employers.
    All this po-faced stuff about protecting workers' rights might sound slightly more convincing if it wasn't being spouted by people who make a very good living out of exploiting the Kafkaesque nightmare that is current employment law.
    Once we manage to reclaim powers from the EU the first thing that needs to be done is to scrap discrimination law. (For the avoidance of doubt I mean discrimination law as it's applied in the civil law, not the criminal law - I completely support the prosecution of racial crimes.)
    Most decent people don't act in a discriminatory way, and those that do should face public opprobrium rather than legal redress.
    I can accept that when it was originally brought in discrimination law did perform a useful function, in forcing people to see that discrimination was morally insupportable.
    However, it should only ever have been seen as a temporary measure. As it's designed to modify thought patterns and improve the public's perception of minorities it should become unnecessary after, say, 20 or 30 years as by then discriminatory behaviour would be completely socially unacceptable, as is largely the case nowadays.
    Peer group pressure is a much more effective and acceptable way of policing social interaction than the civil law.
    The effect of providing a civil remedy, with thousands - sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds - on offer for perceived grievances has the effect of making those minorities protected by such law appear to be a privileged few.
    Such privilege serves only to increase resentment amongst the rest of the population - exactly the opposite of what was intended.
    And the irony is that because of the absurd complexity of discrimination law it actively discriminates against small employers without access to HR departments or expensive legal advice.
    I am personally aware of a number of small firms that have been hit with discrimination claims simply because they failed to offer interviews to job applicants, and who ended up settling what were completely spurious claims simply because they couldn't afford to defend the claims.
    They will, of course, tell anyone prepared to listen about the gross injustice of such law, which again spreads resentment.

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