Now this is big news in the UK but probably not so much for our international friends.
Up until 26 July 2017, the UK had in place some tribunal fees which. To lodge a case, you had to pay £1000 fee. This saw a decrease in cases of 70% over the last couple of years.
However, this fee has now been scrapped! This means is that we are now going back to a situation where anyone who thinks they have a claim can put a claim forward. This is similar to the system in France, Germany and US. Companies will almost certainly start to see an increase in tribunal cases.
Here are some tips to help you avoid this situation: –
Tip 1 – Preparation
How do you prepare for a tribunal? Well first, don’t panic! Preparing for a tribunal case or making sure you avoid one, is simply about following the rules. It’s about making sure you document discussions from as early as possible. As soon as an employee issue becomes tricky, start writing everything down. Make sure you that the individual is clear on expectations or that any misunderstandings are resolved immediately. Give written proof of any resolutions. Hiring HR professionals to support you in that documentation will be cheaper in the long run.
Tip 2 – Documentation
Document anything and everything, making sure that you abide by the GDPR regulations. All documentation will be admissible. So, you need to make sure that the language is clean, that the notes are clear and ideally any transcripts of conversations should be reviewed by both your employee and by you as a manager or an employer. Document as much as you can. Get agreement so that everything is clear in terms of how you manage your people relations. Make sure that any recordings made via a phone or any other recording device have been fully approved by the employee and the person having the conversation before being used in court. Always use a good pen and paper when taking notes at a meeting. Alternatively, there are people out there, including VeryHR who will come in and take transcripts of employee/employer discussions for you.
Tip 3 – Don’t Panic!
If, regardless of all your preparation work, you still find yourself being taken to court, don’t panic. The UK has a fair process in place, in terms of assessing different cases and different situations. You will receive the help of ACAS, which is a conciliatory service. They are useful and knowledgeable. There are also some great employment lawyers out there. If you have done the preparation correctly and followed the right processes then you will be able to defend your case!
The biggest issue of course, with any court action, is cost. As soon as you enter tribunal work the costs start to rise. The average cost for an employment lawyer is around £350 an hour! Therefore, I’d like to reinforce point 1 and 2 and using the services, if you don’t have those already, of a good HR consultant who will be there to support you and guide you along the way. With those things in place your employees should find no grounds for action.