Protect yourself from vexatious claims from people that have never even worked for you

This week, Victoria discusses the employment tribunals process and how one man tried to take advantage of the weakness of the current system.

Ladyboss HR

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I nearly fell off my chair last week when I read about a man that has been banned from using the employment tribunals (ET) service after making more than 40 (yes I said 40) vexatious claims against multiple companies.

Mr D Taheri had misused the ET process, by applying for a job and bringing a claim against the Employer if his application was rejected and seeking thousands of pounds in damages. The majority of his 43 claims, brought between 2012 and 2020, were struck out after either having no reasonable project of success, being withdrawn by Taheri, or claims were settled out of court. It is important to note here that ALL of the claims he brought forward failed.

His claims were often brought on the grounds of race, age and or disability discrimination. On 6 November 2013, the President of the England and Wales ET wrote to the treasury solicitor about Taheri, describing how he “seeks thousands of pounds but then writes to the Respondent’s representatives repeatedly (20 or 30 times) demanding settlements of £500, and threatening to hold a press conference.” Unfortunately, no formal action was taken as a result of this letter.

In 2018 alone Taheri attempted to secure at least £485,000 of compensation from 17 different employers. He filed at least one claim every month, save for August during 2018.

There is a wider question around why this man was allowed to submit so many claims for so long and I firmly believe that the ET application process needs to be reviewed and tightened to prevent so many spurious claims being made. In addition, there needs to be more resource and powers granted to ACAS to make decisions. Very often an Employer will make a commercial decision to settle outside of court. In my experience 7 out of 10 times this is not because they have a weak defence, but because they do not have the time or indeed the budget to spend defending the claim. Taheri is a great example of a serial claimant that used this weakness in the system to his advantage.

How can you protect yourself? I am urging all of my clients to access our legal expenses cover right now, to provide them with peace of mind that if they follow our advice and they still end up with an ET claim, we will cover the cost for them. Another point in this particular example is the exposure you may have in your recruitment process. It is vital to have good house-keeping in place when recruiting and ensure that you have a clear audit trail for all decisions you make along the way. 

A candidate can submit a claim against you if they feel you have discriminated against them and understandably so, if they can evidence a bias. Recruitment is an area that an Employer often relinquishes responsibility of as they grow, so it is important that your people are up to date with their inclusion and diversity training. 

HPC offers training for Managers in Recruitment and Diversity and Inclusion. If you would like to discuss protecting your business from spurious claims, please do not hesitate to contact the team.

Contact details – sophie@highperformanceconsultancy.com

Phone – 0844 8005932 and quote DIB22 for a free initial consultation meeting

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