Changes In the Qualifying Period For Unfair Dismissal
by Hermione Avila - Paralegal
10 June 2012, filed under Employment
As an employer you may have found that employment legislation strongly favours the employee over the employer. If you have ever had to dismiss an employee you may even have found yourself defending a claim for unfair dismissal already. Defending a claim for unfair dismissal can be, at the very least, an inconvenience to an employer. At the other end of the spectrum, legal fees and potential compensation should the Employment Tribunal find in the ex-employee’s favour could quite plausibly destroy a business.
Vince Cable, Business Secretary has recently revealed some legislation changes which will be rather welcome to employers as they “even up the playing field”.
Historically, employees had the right to bring a claim of unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal if they had accrued 12 months of service in their employment. However, whilst this will still be the case for employees who were employed before 6 April 2012, anyone employed after this date will now have to accrue 2 years service before they can bring the same claim.
In today’s society, with people advertising “no win, no fee” legal advice, employees are regularly making claims in the Employment Tribunal and effectively making an employer’s life very difficult. Employment Tribunal cases are often not heard for over a year after the ET1 (claim form) and ET3 (defence) are lodged as the tribunals have too many cases to deal with and not enough resources to turn them over quickly enough. Along with the change in qualifying period for unfair dismissal, acas must now be involved at the beginning of every case BEFORE a claim can be lodged with the Tribunal. ACAS, (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) are an independent body, their main role is to ensure that communication and relations between employers and employees are the best they can be and they will attempt to mediate between the two in order to avoid the time and expense of hearing a case at Employment Tribunal.
Advice For Employers
If you are experiencing problems with a member of staff at work and you are thinking of dismissing them you must ensure that you carry out the appropriate steps in order to do so to reduce the risk of a claim for unfair dismissal being brought against you. These can include any company policies and procedures you have in place in your contracts of employment (for example a disciplinary and grievance procedure). For more advice on how to deal with difficult employees have a look at the employment section of the site.
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