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Blog  »  October 2017
25
Oct 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Government have launched Employment Tribunal fee refund scheme

Following the ruling in July this year which saw the Supreme Court rule employment tribunal fees as unlawful, the Government is now ready to start repaying the thousands of people that were charged.

The ruling, which was heralded as possibly the biggest employment law decision ever in the UK, saw the Supreme Court unanimously ruling that the Government was acting unlawfully when they introduced the fees back in 2013. Fees of up to £1,200 were introduced resulting in a dramatic fall from 5,847 employment tribunal cases the year before the fees were introduced, to 1,740 the following year.

The first steps

The first stage of the refund process will see up to around 1,000 people contacted individually and invited to complete their forms before the full scheme is opened up in the coming weeks. The Government is also working with Trade Unions who have supported large multiple claims, potentially involving hundreds of claimants.

People who were ordered by the Tribunal to reimburse their opponent their fee and who can show that they have paid it are also eligible to apply for a refund under the scheme.

Successful applicants to the scheme will be refunded their full fee and will also be paid interest of 0.5% calculated from the date of the payment right up to the date of the refund.

The opening phase of the refund scheme will last for around 4 weeks. Further details of the scheme will be made available once the scheme is rolled out fully.

For further details please see gov.uk

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Posted in Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Employment Update

3
Oct 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

£25,000 awarded for unfair dismissal due to pregnancy

Leeds Employment Tribunal recently awarded just over £25,000 in compensation after it ruled a woman was unfairly dismissed from her training job at Bradford District Training Agency after she became pregnant.

The woman told the tribunal that her contract had been verbally extended at the same time as she received a promotion and pay increase. She spent a number of weeks chasing the company for her written terms of the extended contract, which would have kept her in her role until March 2017. She was later dismissed, shortly after announcing her pregnancy.

The company stated that the woman lost her job due to redundancy and that her fixed-term contract had expired, it was nothing to do with her pregnancy. However, the tribunal found that the company had offered unreliable evidence and the company’s behavior was ‘substantially and procedurally unfair’ and stated that firing an employee because of being pregnant was a ‘serious act of discrimination’.

The woman was awarded £9,130 for loss of earnings and £15,600 for injury to feelings and £435 for loss of statutory rights.

Naeema Choudry, a partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, stated that; “Tribunals will undertake a thorough evaluation of the facts and evidence whether there is an inference of discrimination. While it is not unlawful to make redundant a pregnant employee if the decision is linked in any way to the pregnancy it will amount to unlawful discrimination and unfair dismissal. Similarly, if the contract of employment of a pregnant worker is not renewed because of her pregnancy or future maternity leave, this would also amount to unlawful discrimination.”

This case shows us that tribunals take discrimination very seriously and that they will not simply accept at face value the reason for dismissal put forward by an employer. Employers should also be aware that as there is no cap on the amount of compensation that a tribunal can award in a claim for discrimination.

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Posted in Awards, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook

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