19th April 2016 about 6:45am I was listening to The Morning News on LBC 97.3 with the reporter Lisa Asiz and she was talking to a lady who was putting forward her views on #Brexit and although I only heard the last part of the interview I was able to discern that this lady was not fully informed. She was concerned that if we leave the European Union people would have the opportunity to go to industrial tribunal taken away from them and that the system has now changed in that it now cost’s £1200 for the individual to take their employer to tribunal.
It is an important point but I wondered if this lady has ever been involved with the industrial tribunal process, I have and I can tell you that it is not to be taken lightly, one employee can ruin a company and putting into jeopardy the lively hood of many of their ex co-worker’s as a result. Over the course of the last two years, I along with a number of other colleagues had some nasty accusations levelled against us and the company we work for by a Polish ex-employee. We were fortunate in that we are a well-trained company, we keep very good records & work to the letter of the law.
Our accuser who we subsequently found out was looking to better his career prospects, was in our opinion after a financial reward to help support himself in his new career path towards a law degree whilst in university and in our case he was disappointed because our counter claim was entirely vindicated in the Liverpool Employment Tribunal court by the tribunal panel, his claim was totally discredited and we then successfully sued him for £3000 costs. Yes it has cost our company more money than we were awarded to take this action but we felt that it would send a message to similar minded people with the same vexatious attitude as our accuser. Other companies may have just settled out of court, our accuser offered to go-away initially for £15,000 and just before the final hearing that came down to £10,000. In our case we had nothing to hide so why should we give in to his request?
When it comes to industrial tribunals people tend to assume that the employer is at fault, they think that everyone that takes the employer to tribunal has been mistreated, well it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee as that is not always the case. After the process has begun it means that all the individuals accused have to gather the evidence to prove their innocence, this on top of continuing to try and run the business in a normal fashion, this is very stressful and takes resources away from the business that should be used to make progress and grow the business.
I am not saying that tribunals are a bad thing but opportunists need to be discouraged from making unfounded accusations which are vexatious or have no reasonable prospect of success and are likely to lead to others losing their jobs as a result of their actions. Some companies have been forced to close as a result of the high level of damages awarded to individuals taking innocent companies to the Industrial Tribunal.