Proposed Changes to Employment Tribunals
In the midst of employers having to deal with furlough leave and the impact of the Coronavirus, it is easy to overlook other employment law matters. One of those is the recently published report from the Law Commission on “Employment Law Hearing Structures”.
The focus of the report is on how to improve the existing employment hearing structures and remove any illogical anomalies from the demarcation of the jurisdictions of employment tribunals and the civil courts, without a major restructuring of the employment tribunal system. However, at 200+ pages with 22 recommendations, it still contains a number of proposals that could have a significant impact on employment claims.
The recommendations for change that particularly caught my eye are:
- Extending the time limit for bringing all types of employment tribunals claims should be six months
- Removing the different discretion’s that Employment Tribunals have to extend the time limits for bringing claims to have one approach – where it is “just and equitable to do so”. That would see the more restricted discretion in unfair dismissal claims being removed
- Employees being able to bring breach of contract claims in the Employment Tribunals whilst still employed as well as after employment has ended
- Allowing breach of contract claims in the Employment Tribunal from workers as well as employees. However, this isn’t going to be extended to genuinely self-employed contractors; and
- Increasing the current limit on contractual claims from the current £25,000 to £100,000. That in my view is likely to see the Employment Tribunal having to consider more complex and high value contract claims that are currently dealt with by the High Court.
Whilst there is no guarantee that the recommendations in the report will be implemented, given the detailed assessment that has led to the recommendations, I think that we are likely to see those changes being made.
If you have any questions regarding an employment tribunal claim, please contact Matt Jenkin.