Unsurprisingly, the increase over the last few years in employees rights, have resulted in a responding increase in employment tribunal claims. Although the maximum awards for unfair dismissal compensation and the like have been steadily rising, you do need to be aware that there is a significant investment required in actually defending such a claim – not only in the costs of your employment solicitor, but also in the time and stress imposed on your own business.
Before deciding whether to defend, have a good look at how strong the claim actually is. It is also worth bearing in mind that although the maximum payout for unfair dismissal claims increased in 2011 to a maximum of £80,040, the average unfair dismissal claim payout in 2009/10 was only £6275. What’s more, recent research has suggested that the cost to your own business, in staff time lost, averages £9,000 – and that’s before you even start to pay legal costs!
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Winning a case at the employment tribunal – the odds according to some interesting research
Back in 2011, I also came across some interesting information from the Employment Tribunal Service statistics which may help you in making a decision whether or not to defend an employment tribunal claim.
According to the figures, 82.9% of redundancy compensation claims are successful at a full employment tribunal hearing compared with just 52% of unfair dismissal claims and a mere 18% of race discrimination claims. So although it’s unscientific, you might wish to bear these figures in mind next time you talk to your employment lawyer after an employee threatens you with an employment tribunal compensation case.
My advice – it’s always worth taking brief legal advice from specialist employment lawyers – that initial advice shouldn’t cost much and you may be surprised that a good commercially minded solicitor may well suggest that you give some serious thought to settling as the cheaper option.
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