Letters of the week: time-wasters should cough up

first_imgKeep tribunals in perspectiveHow myheart bleeds for those poor firms who are forced to attend employmenttribunals. It’s as if none of them ever faces a legal challenge except fromdisgruntled ex-staff with no case. The CBIshould be ashamed of itself for supporting tougher rules on time-wasters (News,21 November). Most firms face legal challenges every day that have nothing todo with employment.There is asimple reason why employment tribunals have become time-consuming andexpensive: the increasing use of barristers and solicitors to prepare andpresent cases. I knowemployment law has become embroiled in regulation, but it’s not rocket science.Such activity is all down to laziness – it’s easier to hand the case to a legalexpert. Personnel staff have become further removed from the sharp end; now,there’s a real danger of lawyers becoming involved at even earlier stages inthe employment process. We’ve beenconned into believing that the only way to win a tribunal is to bat harder thanthe opposition. So in troop the barrister, the instructing solicitor andassistants, all of whom have to justify their role – and be paid. But who arethey facing? Non-represented tribunal applicants or, at worst, a trade unionofficial. Hardly justifies all this legal firepower, does it?If we wantthe tribunal process to be more efficient, we should review the need forexpensive legal advice and stop pointing the finger at a few off-the-wallapplicants. The fault can easily be laid at the employer, who ratchets up costsfor no good reason.JimHoggartReading Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. I ampleased that some form of risk is likely to be introduced for applicants atemployment tribunals (News, 21 November).Since theincrease of the upper limit of awards at tribunal, many disgruntled formeremployees see the tribunal system as an easy option for financial gain. Often,firms will make a commercial settlement on applications that bear littleresemblance to the actual circumstances of dismissal. While this makes goodshort-term business sense on an individual case basis, it does not bear up inthe long term. It just encourages others to follow suit and try a claim – anyclaim.Thissituation constipates the tribunal system, increases costs for business andunjustly tarnishes the genuine applicants, serving no one’s interests.There hasto be some consideration for the level of potential award against applicantsand their assets, although the proposal for a maximum of £5,000 will not coverthe costs of a professionally run defence by a respondent. A figure double thiswould be more realistic given the employer’s true costs – and the fact thatawards against applicants at the maximum level are likely to be few. Awards areone matter; recovery another – and no doubt another day in court. Ifintroduced, this initiative will be most welcome. It will not end all of ourfrustrations, although it should at least reduce the number of time-wastingclaims.ChrisSharpeHumanresources managerEuropean Helpdesks Weneed to focus on the key issuesThe answerto your question “Will the proposed DTI measures help prevent frivolousclaims?” (News, 21 November) is yes – and about time, too. I’m withCMS Cameron McKenna’s John Renz when he says, “It is the process that costs usso much time and money. It means we have to take our eye off the ball and endup managing failure.” Whenemployers dismiss for good reason, and do it properly, that should be it.Manufacturing in the UK for export markets is being devastated by the strengthof sterling and needs to keep focused on success to have any chance ofsurvival.EricAnderson.Viae-mail Letters of the week: time-wasters should cough upOn 5 Dec 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more