Employment Tribunal fees – what it means for charities

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

You have probably heard that fees to access Employment Tribunals were abolished by the Supreme Court last summer, but what does it actually mean for charities?

Here is what we know at this stage.

What is happening in the aftermath of the judgment?

For those individuals who paid fees at an Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal between July 2013 and July 2017, they can now apply for a refund. This includes employers, so if you were ordered by a tribunal to reimburse the fees of an employee who brought a claim against you and you have evidence that demonstrates this, you can apply for a refund.

What is going to happen to historic claims?

It is not known what will occur to those employees who did not submit a claim or had their case thrown out because of fees during July 2013 and July 2017. It is likely that it will be dependent on the type of claim and the circumstances. It is not impossible that some claims of this nature, even though they are many months or years out of time on the face of things, may be allowed to continue.

So what does this all mean for charities?

It could result in it being easier and cheaper for employees to take their employer to tribunals, therefore you may need to deal with vexatious or frivolous claims.

But what it really means that it is time for all employers to make sure their employment practices can stand up to scrutiny.

To do this, here are four key tips for your charity:

  1. Make sure all your staff are on the right contract and you understand the obligations for each type of contract.
  2. Review your Employee Handbook to make sure that you have clear and robust policies and procedures in place which comply with current legislation.
  3. Make sure all managers have been suitably trained in HR and Employment Law matters. 
  4. Seek legal advice when dealing with complex workplace issues, for example grievances, dismissal and TUPE.

To discuss the impact on your charity, please contact 0845 226 8393, ask for the Partnerships Legal Team and quote your ACEVO membership number.