19 June 2013
Public sector union Unison is applying to the High Court to launch a judicial review into the introduction of employment tribunal fees, which are to be brought in on July 29th 2013.
Employees will be charged up to £1,200 to take unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay and whistleblowing cases to tribunal. Those with less complex claims – such as unpaid holiday, redundancy or notice pay, or compensation for wage deductions – will have to pay £390. The trade union argued that the fees charged may be larger than the compensation won in many cases, discouraging workers from making any attempt to seek justice, and thus allowing employers to take illegal measures against them without fear of punishment.
“These charges are a blatant attempt to stop working people from exercising their employment rights. It will give unscrupulous employers the green light to ride roughshod over employees’ already very basic, rights at work,” General Secretary of Unison Dave Prentis said on Monday (June 17th 2013). “It is completely wrong for access to the law and employment justice to be based on what you can or cannot afford,” he added.
Unison wrote to the Ministry of Justice on June 1st 2013, warning that a judicial review would be lodged if the government did not invoke the legislation. The union has criticised the quality of the government’s impact assessment, arguing that the fees will disproportionately impact on women and those with protected characteristics, since equal pay and discrimination claims are more costly.
The Institute of Employment Rights has been highlighting the unjust nature of employment tribunal fees since they were first proposed by the Coalition Government in 2011.
Read more about the significant raft of employment tribunal legislation changes made this year with our step-to-step guide to the Coalition’s reform of the system.