There has been a significant surge in the number of claims lodged at employment tribunals during the first three months of lockdown, according to official figures released by the Ministry of Justice, with experts warning claims may continue to soar as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The latest statistics revealed the highest increase in single employment claims since 2012/13, with claims made by individual claimants between April and June this year rising by 18 per cent rise compared to the same three months of 2019.

The increase in claims is forecast to continue as the government’s furlough scheme ends this month, in particular if employers aren’t careful in managing the redundancy process carefully.

Employers could face discrimination claims

Employers automatically making employees who are furloughed redundant based on childcare or health concerns, could face discrimination claims, and it is likely that claims may be submitted on the grounds of unfair selection, changing terms and conditions without proper consultation, and collective consultation oversights due to employers making basic errors in their redundancy process.

Vivienne Tolley, Director HR Services at Smith Cooper advises:

The best way for employers to mitigate their risks when facing the prospect of redundancies is to access advice at an early stage. Whilst this may incur costs in the first instance, it could save you a lot of time and money in the long run”.

Vivienne added that the rise in claims should be seen by employers as confirmation that they should approach all staff processes and management in line with employment law.

For further advice on how to avoid errors and mitigate risks when facing the prospect of redundancies, or for advice on redundancy alternatives, please get in touch.