Tribunal reform is the best way forwardOn 1 Mar 2001 in Vexatious claims, Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Should legal aid be available for employment tribunal cases? Will it just encourage more people to try iton or is it an important way of ensuring equal access to justice? Compiled by Lucy CarringtonBernard Kingsley Employee relations manager, ManpowerIntroducing legal aid throughout the rest of the UK could lead to an unevenplaying field, to employers’ disadvantage. If applicants get better qualityrepresentation through legal aid then employers will have to follow that and sothe costs of tribunals will increase. Clearly there has been a trend towardslegalism in the way in which tribunals operate. For example, workers often tendto be represented and, given the increasing complexity of aspects of employmentlaw, need to be better represented. However, if we look at the original purposeof employment tribunals it was to provide a relatively straightforwardprocedure to bring claims that did not involve huge costs for either employeeor employer. I’m more interested in the recent – but long overdue – proposals to improvetribunal procedures. These include giving tribunals the power to strike outweak cases at any stage in the proceedings. Tribunals will also be able toimpose a penalty against employees, or employers, who act unreasonably. It isrelatively easy for people to bring claims and with 40,000 staff nationally, wedo get a number throughout the year. But there are more spurious claims now andtribunals have not yet had the teeth to weed some of these out. It is important that people have the opportunity to bring claims, but thishas to be balanced against the constraints on employers. For example, bigemployers who tend to be doing things properly in the first place, will almostcertainly be the hardest hit by any increase in the number of cases. There is also the problem of consistency. We deal with tribunals in England,Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and there is a marked discrepancy betweenall the four countries. This is especially so in terms of the speed at whichtribunals handle claims – Northern Ireland is particularly slow. But evenwithin England there is a big variation in the speed and manner in which claimsare dealt with. We urgently need to see the Government’s reforms to the employment tribunalsprocess in action. TerryGorman President, Socpo and assistant chief executive, Nottingham County CouncilI’mnot in favour at all. I believe employees should become members of a union.Unions help the industrial relations process and provide members with usefulbenefits including funding their tribunal cases. To support legal aid wouldundermine the union role.Inprinciple, anyone with a justifiable claim should be able to make a claim but Iwelcome the Government’s proposed penalty for vexatious claims. On the whole,Socpo is keen on most of the tribunal reforms that are on the table. There area few other things we would like to have seen, for example, some sectorspecific tribunals. It would help if tribunals understood the nature of localgovernment.DominicJohnsonHead of employee relations There’sno clear evidence that lack of legal aid is preventing people from taking theirclaims forward and I’m not sure that introducing it would have any impact. Noram I convinced that the Human Rights Act could be invoked if it were notavailable.Therationale for introducing legal aid is potentially flawed. The Scottishexecutive decided to push ahead because it feared someone might take a testcase under the Human Rights Act. But it has pre-empted things a bit as no casehas been through the courts yet. Wewant to see a case go through the courts before the UK government takes anyaction.SarahVealeSenior employment rights officer, TUCThereal problem lies not with tribunals but in the workplace. Most claims are fromsmall to medium sized firms where employers do not have the procedures to dealwith discipline and grievances. So no one gets a second chance. Butin large organisations line managers and employees usually get to put theircase through internal personnel procedures. The result could be a final warningfor an employee so that everyone feels they have had a hearing.It’sinteresting that as the amount of employee litigation has gone up the number ofworkers covered by union agreements has gone down.’DavidWebbPersonnel manager, industrial relations, Group 4 Total Security LtdPeopleare more aware of their rights to complain and one aspect of tribunals thatconcerns us is that there are more of them, and on a variety of subjects. Wehave also found that increasingly employees will file a claim externally at thesame time as raising it internally. Wewant to restore the position where we resolve matters internally and so arerevising our grievance and discipline procedure. We’ve run a fairly relaxedprocess until now, but we have had a number of people who have tried to raisegrievances in ways that are unacceptable.It’sa difficult conundrum. We fully support people’s right to make legal claims andwe encourage people to join trade unions, but we must not see personneldepartments bogged down in unnecessary process. Related posts:No related photos.
Published on May 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories SU makes final statement in 17-5 dismantling of Colgate prior to Selection SundayFast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 17-5 blowout of Colgate Syracuse midfielder Jamie Trimboli and goalie Dom Madonna took their seats at the press conference table following No. 12 SU’s (8-6, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) 17-5 dismantling of Colgate (7-8, 3-5 Patriot League). Arriving minutes before Syracuse head coach John Desko, the two joked around, tapping the microphones to test audio levels and discussing how Brendan Curry sat in Desko’s seat following the win over North Carolina.Trimboli suddenly turned to Madonna, tapping him on the shoulder to tell him that Denver lost to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament.“Maybe we’ll host,” Trimboli told Madonna.As soon as the game against Colgate ended, attention shifted to tomorrow’s selection show, where the NCAA tournament bracket will be released. Syracuse used Saturday’s home contest as a tune-up before the tournament with an easy opponent at the end of a gauntlet schedule.After Syracuse took a 6-0 lead, it never led the Raiders by fewer than five goals and when the fourth quarter came around, Senior Day turned into a freshman showcase.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen the final buzzer sounded, names on the field included Jacob Buttermore, Jakob Phaup, Troy Lauder and Nate Garlow, all freshmen who have scarcely seen the field this season. Madonna left the field to a standing ovation just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.“You want to keep your starters healthy,” Desko said. “To leave them in with the score the way it was and for potentially one of them to get hurt, that’s not a great decision by the coaching staff.”While Syracuse played stress-free at the conclusion of the game, the week leading up to it was anything but so. With final exams and review sessions all week, 10-15 players were missing every single practice, Desko said. The coaching staff would have to teach the same thing multiple times. Yet a loss to Colgate meant there was no shot at making the tournament, Madonna said.“I was treating this whole week like it’s my last week,” Madonna said.When the players took the field following pregame lineup introductions, Austin Fusco corralled the starters near the sideline in a tight circle.“Nothing’s given to you,” Madonna remembers Fusco saying. “You have to go out and get it.”Syracuse proved the beneficiary of other teams’ successes and failures from around the country on Saturday. Ohio State, a team rapidly rising up the RPI rankings, fell to Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten semifinals, failing to overtake the Orange in RPI. At the same time, Villanova and Penn, two teams ahead of SU in RPI, dropped games in their conference tournament semifinals, as well.Trimboli’s address of Denver’s loss before the post-game press conference, and perhaps the chance at hosting a first-round tournament game, comes from the fact that Inside Lacrosse released a mock bracket earlier this week that slated Denver as the last seeded team, and Syracuse as the first unseeded team, with the Orange making the first-round trip to Denver.Trimboli entered the room smiling after hearing the news of Denver’s loss from a team manager in the hallways. But while the numbers fall in SU’s favor, Desko held caution, immediately cutting into Trimboli to tell him that he was wrong.“It’s not good for us. Denver is probably a playoff team either way,” Desko said. “That takes another (at-large) slot away from someone. This time of year, when you’re being considered, you want as many teams that are guaranteed to go to the tournament to win their conference play.”Syracuse remains the only team in the country with two top-five wins, and a win Saturday as well as other team’s losses will likely bump SU’s RPI up. Yet this is a team that lost six games, and has struggled to pull out wins against lesser opponents.Still, Syracuse boasts the third-ranked strength of schedule in the country, something that has prepared the Orange for the road ahead, Desko said.“I said from the first press conference, ‘if it doesn’t kill us, it will make us stronger,’” Desko said.Saturday, in danger of falling out of the tournament conversation with a Colgate upset, Syracuse dug in and produced one of its best all-around showings of the season just over 24 hours before the bracket will be announced. In the 12-goal victory, the team’s second-largest of the season, SU did everything it could do to make a statement in the eyes of the committee.“We wanted to take care of business. … It went according to plan,” Desko said. “Mission accomplished.” Comments