Avoiding Employment Tribunals

The number of employment tribunals, which are the employees last resort in cases of disputed disciplinary or grievance, has jumped 90% in the past year. What is going wrong?

Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that in the period October to December 2017 8,173 claims were made, compared to 4,200 in the same period in 2016.

These figures should be a wake-up call to everyone in a managerial or supervisory position as it is known that where there is good management the number of disciplinary and grievance cases are lower.

Some organisations have blamed the increase on the abolition of tribunal fees, which were first introduced by the government in 2013 in order to reduce the number of malicious and weak cases. These fees were subsequently deemed unlawful and so were scraped in 2017.

Whilst there may be some truth in this, simply forcing employees to pay a tribunal fee does not mean that the underlying problems that led to them having the grievance have gone away. Indeed, according to the MD of CMP Resolutions (Arran Heal) the grievances were simply being bottled up and, as a result, perhaps being made worse.

Obviously, the earlier an employee’s issues can be resolved, the better. This requires all line managers and supervisors to pick up on conflict and the potential for conflict early and to do something about it before HR has to become involved.

Figures produced by the CIPD suggest that the time spent by HR on managing both disciplinary and grievance cases has gone up and is currently 18 days for a disciplinary and 14.4 days for a grievance. So where managers are able to resolve issues early, then this burden on HR will be reduced.

Management training will almost certainly be required in order equip all managers with the skills of giving feedback, managing conflict, and having “difficult” conversations. These skills need to become an ordinary part of the manager’s working life.

If you would like to train your managers so they can resolve people problems early, then please get in touch.