Concerns are growing that people may be exploited by unscrupulous employers following a Freedom of Information request that has shown that there were 5000 fewer claims than in the previous year for unfair dismissal or discrimination, since the introduction of charges to bring a case – a fall of two thirds. According to the Herald website, just 2296 employment tribunals were accepted in the nine months following the change, a drop of 68%.
The fees are “creating a barrier to justice” and deterring people who have been unfairly treated by their employer from seeking redress, leading to concerns that the situation will get worse as bad employers realise that they can get away with treating people badly, because poorly paid employees won’t be able to afford taking them to tribunal. While fee waivers are available for those who cannot pay, access to these is limited and the earning thresholds are relatively low and those on low incomes are deciding that the process is unaffordable.
Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary for Unite said:
“Bad employers are exploiting this uncertainty by racing to the bottom on every aspect of employment; from terms and conditions to quick-fire dismissals, health and safety standards to dignity in the workplace. Now, more than ever, we need a strong and accessible justice system that protects the interests of working people.”
Source: The Herald