The latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice (for the period September to December 2014) reveal that, whilst employment tribunal claims are on the rise compared with the previous quarter, they are still 57% down on the same quarter for 2013. Unsurprisingly, the drop in claims is attributed to the introduction of tribunal fees.
Leaving aside public policy debates around access to justice, there is a powerful argument that the fees regime is greatly encouraging employers to take difficult decisions that are in the best interests of their business, without the unnecessary distraction of legal risk. Indeed, when considering risk management, employment lawyers and HR professionals should now place greater emphasis on whether a claim is likely to be brought, rather than whether it will actually succeed.
The bigger picture in terms of employer brand, staff morale and an organisation’s culture and values still needs to be factored into any decision making process. However, by playing the percentages game, employers could be bolder and more robust in the way that they manage their workforce. Good HR teams and employment lawyers have always discovered what the business wants to achieve and helped them get there whilst managing risk along the way – the current climate just makes our job a little easier.