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An Employer’s Guide to Employment Tribunals

By Victoria Brown

By Victoria Brown

Employment tribunals affect over 100,000 businesses in the UK every year. This week, Victoria offers an expert insight into employment tribunals.

Do you think an Employment Tribunal won’t happen to you?

– Did you know in the period April to June 2020 there were 103,973 claims made to the Employment Tribunal service?

– Did you know the highest sum paid out in this period was £266,000?

– Did you know the three types of claims on the increase in this period are for Age, Race, and failure to provide minimum wage?

– Did you know that Age and Race are protected characteristics?

Want to avoid settling out of court or being taken to court in an Employment Tribunal?

There are four questions below you need to ask yourself.

If you find yourself not knowing the answer with certainty, then you could be vulnerable to a tribunal claim by one of your employees.

  1. Does one of your employees have a protected characteristic?
  2. Did you know if an individual is treated unfairly in relation to a protected characteristic, directly or indirectly, by you, the employer, or one of your employees you could find yourself facing a tribunal claim?
  3. Did you know that an employee does not need to have two years of qualifying service to be eligible to claim unfair dismissal?
  4. Did you know that if an employee has a family member or people who are like family who has a protected characteristic they can be discriminated against by association?

What is a protected characteristic?

The Equality Act 2010 covers the below nine protected characteristics

– Age

– Disability

– Gender reassignment

– Marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)

– Pregnancy or maternity

– Race

– Religion or belief

– Sex

– Sexual orientation

Why you need to understand what these are and what it means to you

As an employer you are the face of all your employees – this means even if someone else (your employee) does something wrong you are held accountable – so it’s important that you and your whole workforce understand the appropriate way to behave. Poor understanding about protected characteristics is common in the workplace and as a company you need to ensure you have policies in place and accessible by all staff, included in staff induction and training to raise awareness.

As a business owner, director, or manager, how confident are you that everyone is treating everyone in your team equally and fairly? What training have you provided to ensure they have knowledge in this area and their actions aren’t putting both your business and reputation at risk?

Don’t make assumptions, this is the first mistake…

Have you ever heard one of your team, or even when you have visited another business, enjoying ‘banter’ such as you’re too old…?  Or teasing each other about their years of experience or lack thereof, what about fun banter about a woman’s ‘time of the month’ or ‘baby brain’ after someone returns from maternity leave… I am sure you will have heard some of these throughout your career… These can lead to discrimination and so on a claim against you.

How protected are you and your business?

Remember the highest claim from April to June 2020 was paid out at £266,000, don’t wait to be in this situation, act now and keep your business protected.

If you would like to find out how you can keep your business protected or would like to discuss employment tribunals further, please get in contact with our team of experts. With a combined 60 years of experience, our team can offer you support, coaching, training, and guidance.

T: 0330 107 1037


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