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CIPD says employment tribunal system is broken

More than two out of three employers (69%) say they have no effective protection against employees making wholly unjustifiable claims to employment tribunals. This is a key finding from a survey of employers’ experiences of managing workplace conflict, published by the CIPD.

The Conflict Management survey report shows three in five respondents (61%) have experience of an employee claiming unfair dismissal and ‘tagging on’ a discrimination claim in the hope of getting more compensation. Fifty-five per cent say they have endured a complaint against their organisation on malicious grounds. The CIPD commented “This survey reflects the strength of feeling among employers about the failings of the current system for resolving workplace disputes. The real problem is that the employment tribunal system itself is broken and its costs and benefits are wholly out of line. The Government needs to take a radical look at the existing machinery for protecting employment rights.” Key findings include:

  • the number of days management and HR spent on managing both disciplinary and grievance cases has gone up since 2007 from 13 to 18 days (disciplinary) and from 9 to 14.4 days (grievance);
  • the number of days of management time (excluding HR) spent on handling grievances in the public sector (9 days) is much higher than private services (5.5 days);
  • major reasons for using compromise agreements (other than to settle an existing claim) are to remove an employee on grounds of poor performance or misconduct (39%), to avoid legal challenge in relation to redundancy (26%) and to make it easier to remove senior staff without embarrassment (24%);
  • the median compensation payment under compromise agreements is £10,000, while one in five (20.3%) report that the typical payment is £25,000 or more;
  • the total costs involved in concluding compromise agreements, including compensation, is a median of £11,000.

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