Pub landlords should be wary about change of rules for tribunals

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Related tags: Employment tribunal, Employment, Tribunal

A form of complaint: claims against employers are made on an ET1 form
A form of complaint: claims against employers are made on an ET1 form
Being a licensee can be an extremely demanding proposition, especially when it comes to staffing.  It is sometimes difficult to identify staff who are unhappy and who believe they have been unfairly treated. The most loyal and trusted of employees can one day become discontented with your particular style of management.

One morning you may open the post to discover an ET1 form, which has to be responded to with an ET3 form within 28 days.

For those reading this article who are fortunate enough not to be familiar with ET1 and ET3 forms, an ET1 form is a claim form against the employer and an ET3 form is the employer’s opportunity to respond. If the claim is not settled then a hearing before an employment tribunal is just around the corner.

Employees who go for the jugular know that the employer will have to defend the case and they also know how much it is going to cost in terms of time and money to defend.

Offering a settlement sometimes seems the best way out for the employer (if not the only way) to get the matter resolved.  

Unfortunately, while the majority of cases that go to an employment tribunal have every right to be there, some are based upon malice.

The present coalition Government has recognised the issues and potential problems of the current process and new rules have been recommended in respect of the whole employment tribunal process.  

Once both the claim and the response have been received, a tribunal judge will review the papers and any claim that does not have a reasonable prospect of success will be struck out. If the judge believes that there is a reasonable prospect then the next stage would be for a preliminary hearing to be held to determine the procedure of the full employment tribunal.  

A number of further proposals are made in respect of the changes to the employment tribunal, including, for the first time, the prospect of a charge for those who issue a claim form, followed by a hearing fee, which will hopefully make the potential claimant think twice before forwarding the claim.

It has long been recognised that issuing a claim form is very easy and very attractive when there is no fee payable on issue of the claim.
Some observers and commentators will argue that the changes are unnecessary and that the employee should be entitled to raise a claim in the employment tribunal for the alleged sins of the employer, in order to obtain appropriate redress.

Unfortunately, some employees use the employment tribunal as a bargaining tool and the ET1 form as the first bargaining chip.

A change is thus on its way, which will filter out frivolous claims and save the employer not only a significant amount of time but also the costs of defending claims that are conceived out of malice or angst against the employer.

The proposed changes to the process are likely to be introduced in summer 2013.

Related topics: Licensing law

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