What do the latest employment tribunal statistics tell us?
The Ministry of Justice has published its annual employment tribunal award statistics - of particular interest as in July it was announced that tribunal fees are to be abolished after the Supreme Court ruled them unlawful and a barrier to justice.
Despite fees being in place at the time, the total number of claims in 2016/2017 is up on the previous two years to 88,476 compared to 83,031 in 2015/16 and 61,308 in 2014/2015.
A breakdown of the awards made at tribunals in 2015/16, compared to the previous year, makes interesting reading.
- The highest sum awarded in a tribunal claim was £1.76 million in 2015/16 in a sex discrimination case compared to £557,000 the previous year. The average award last year was £85,662;
- High awards were also made in disability discrimination claims - with the average award last year around £22,000 - however the maximum awards for race and age discrimination were significantly lower than the previous year;
- The highest award for unfair dismissal was £470,865, compared to just over £238,000 the year before;
- The average award for unfair dismissal in 2015/16 was £13,851 up by about £1,500 on the previous year;
- The number of religious or belief discrimination cases has increased with the largest compensation award coming in at £45,490 in 2015/16 with the average award just under £20,000.
All change on the fees front
A previous article by Wards Solicitors, Government scraps employment tribunal fees - what does it mean for employees and employers?, highlights some of the issues surrounding the Supreme Court's ruling.
What it undoubtedly does mean is that it is more important than ever for employers to consider the risks of claims and make sure they comply with their obligations towards employees and to deal with workplace issues before they escalate.