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Unfair Dismissal, Tribunal Fees and Harassment

Employment Law

At the Conservative Party conference the government revealed planned changes to employment law.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, announced the government intends to change the qualifying period for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim. The government proposes that as of 6 April 2012 employees must be employed continuously for a period of two years before they can bring a claim of unfair dismissal.  At the moment the qualifying period is one year.

The Chancellor also announced that fees would be introduced for lodging employment tribunal claims from April 2013.  This is to transfer the cost of using the system from the tax payer to those lodging claims.  It is also hoped that it will reduce the number of claims put forward on insufficient grounds.  If the claim was successful the employee would be refunded the fees.

The government also announced a consultation on third party harassment.  At present employers are liable if they knowingly fail to protect their employees from persistent harassment by third parties such as customers.  The Chancellor has branded this provision ‘unworkable’ and the consultation will look at the possibility of removing this liability.

It is hoped these changes will save businesses money and create jobs and growth.

If you are an employer or employee and would like advice on employment matters please contact us.