Thursday, 27 January 2011

Government proposals for employment law changes can only serve to restrict access to justice

Prime Minister David Cameron and Business Secretary Vince Cable have today announced proposed reforms to our employment legislation that includes:

• A fee to lodge a claim 

• Compulsory mediation in all Tribunal claims
• An increase in the level of continuous employment for claims of unfair dismissal from one to two years

The Government considers this will encourage employers to hire more employees and to in doing so help to reduce unemployment.  Those who represent employees consider this to be nonsense saying employment legislation has never deterred employees from engaging new staff.

The Government estimates this will lead to 3,700 - 4,700 fewer claims. Also, the potential introduction of a fee, provided employers are not subjected to a similar burden, could help to guard against spurious claims, which inevitably cost employers time and money.

These changes will have no affect on discrimination law and the ability to claim protection from day one.

Although employers will clearly welcome these changes once must question whether the who original objective behind Employment Tribunals of making remedies easily accessible and ‘litigant in person’ friendly has now become rather lost.

There seems to be no rationale for change and the propose reforms seem to serve little purpose other than to restrict and frustrate access to justice. 

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