The number of people taking their employers to tribunals has fallen by 73% since tribunal fees of £1,200 were brought in.
A study by the TUC has found that discrimination cases on the grounds of gender have dropped by 71%, race by 58% and disability by 54%, since the new charges were introduced.
The TUC discovered that in 2012-2013, the number of employees who took their claims to a tribunal averaged around 16,000 a month, but this has fallen dramatically to 7,000 in the past year.
The fees were introduced to help stop frivolous claims being brought to tribunal, but some have questioned whether this has been effective as the proportion of successful claims has not changed significantly since the fee was introduced. Some believe that if there had been a large number of frivolous claimants put off by the fees, then that number would have changed and there would have been far more successful claims. As it hasn’t changed dramatically it suggests that these frivolous claimants have not been put off.
The TUC say they are concerned that now employers can feel that they can get away with badly treating their staff and discrimination at work will increase unchecked and employers can sack people without good reason. They believe that the fees are pricing thousands of people out of pursuing cases in the courts.
When the government brought in the new fees, they also increased the amount of service an employee needed to have worked before they were entitled to bring an unfair dismissal claim against their employer – it increased from one to two years. This may also be a contributing factor to why the number of claims has fallen. People move jobs a lot more frequently now, so it means that there is a considerable amount of people who would not qualify to bring an unfair dismissal claim.
The TUC is urging the government to scrap the fees in its autumn statement.