Marked increase in employment tribunal cases

Employment tribunal cases continued to rise during 2006-07, up 15 per cent on the previous year, figures from the Tribunals Service have revealed.

During the last financial year, the number of cases brought to tribunals totalled 132,577 while the number of cases disposed of also rose, up 19 per cent from 86,083 in 2005-06 to 102,597.

Of the claims heard, 972 were age discrimination related while the majority, at 44,491, were for unfair dismissal. A total of 44,013 were equal pay claims while 5,533 were for disability discrimination and 3,780 were for race discrimination.

Jeanne Spinks, chief operating officer at the Tribunals Service, said with the exception of race discrimination, all categories saw an increase over the year. In particular, equal pay claims showed a 155 per cent increase on 2005-06, she added.

“The significant reason for the increase in employment tribunal cases in 2006-07 was the huge rise in equal pay claims,” Spinks said. “We have set up two teams to process equal pay cases from NHS staff and have been working closely with our judiciary to ensure that all equal pay claims are progressed as efficiently as possible. Despite an overall increase in cases this year, we’ve also managed to reduce the waiting times for single cases appearing before employment tribunals.”

Despite the increases across the board, the number of cases heard at a full hearing before the Employment Appeal Tribunal dropped 22 per cent to 432 cases.