March 14 saw the announcement of the introduction of new rules regarding employment tribunals, with the government attempting to streamline the process.
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson made the announcement, bringing to an end a long running review which began in November 2011. Employment tribunals had previously been a lengthy process, surrounded by a great deal of complicated legislation. The changes announced by Swinson are designed to make the process easier for both employees and employers alike, helping to ensure a swifter resolution to any workplace issues. The proposals are expected to come into place during the summer of 2013.
Speaking on the proposed changes, Jo Swinson commented: “We are committed to finding ways to resolve workplace disputes so they don’t end up with two sides in front of a tribunal”. Amongst the numerous changes made, some of the most significant include:
- Reduction in the amount of paperwork needed to withdraw or dismiss a claim.
- Guidance from Employment Tribunal Presidents to ensure that cases are dealt with in a consistent manner.
- New powers to ensure that weak or frivolous cases are quickly dismissed and do not proceed to a full tribunal.
- Preliminary hearings which will combine pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions. This will reduce the overall number of tribunals which take place, leading to more efficient completion of cases, which will reduce the cost and time required for all those involved.
These are the key elements of the review to the tribunal process, however there are also a number of smaller changes which will come into place to ensure the smooth running of employment tribunals. As well as considering these changes to the employment tribunal process, it is also essential that you are fully aware of the legal representation permitted at a tribunal.
Legal representation at tribunal
Legal representation at a tribunal is highly recommended, for both sides, as the consequences of losing a tribunal are significant. If an employee is successful at a tribunal hearing, it can cost the business involved a significant compensation payout. This means it is essential that employment law and dismissal procedures are closely followed by employers.
Peninsula can provide support and guidance on dismissal procedures
By ensuring that your business is aware of employment law, along with these new regulations from the government, the time consuming and costly process of the employment tribunal should become a thing of the past to be replaced by a modern and efficient process designed with the best interests of all those involved in mind.