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This is was the total cost of the 10 Most Expensive Employment Tribunal Awards 2014. That’s an average of £234,180.30 per employer.
These penalties which could have been minimalised – or even totally – avoided if specific HR advice has been sought and acted upon.
Since the introduction of fees, the employment tribunal (ET) has become a less common destination for business owners and HR professionals.
Although the number of tribunal claims has fallen by between 70% and 80%, when a case does come to court, the amount of the award can cost the employer dearly. At Consensus HR, we emphasise the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. “We ensure that our clients are following the law and demonstrating best practice in the easiest, most effective way possible,” explains Matthew.
Employment Tribunals are applicable to all employers. Police forces, local authorities, hospitals and banks were among the organisations that had to pay some of the more expensive awards in 2014.
The most expensive employment tribunal awards of 2014 were:
- Purple Parking Ltd dismissed drivers over 67 years of age after claiming that its insurance provider would not insure them. It admitted liability for age discrimination and unfair dismissal midway through the drivers’ case, and was ordered to pay more than £700,000 to 20 drivers
- A former RAF nurse at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital was awarded £557,039 after bringing a claim for sex discrimination against the Ministry of Defence over her non-promotion. The employment tribunal concluded that the Ministry of Defence’s approach to promotion favoured male officers over female officers.
- Mrs Konczak, who worked at BAE Systems as a secretary was dismissed. She presented complaints to the employment tribunal alleging sex discrimination, disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. The employment tribunal upheld her claims and awarded her £360,179.
- A whistle-blowing executive at Sweet (UK) Ltd was made redundant after making disclosures in a grievance about accounting irregularities. He was awarded £254,611 for unfair dismissal.
- A welfare officer’s ill-health dismissal was unfair in Monmouthshire County Council. £238,216 was awarded for unfair dismissal and discrimination arising from disability.
- The Police Force failed to make reasonable adjustments for an injured officer within the South Wales Police Force. The employment tribunal ordered them to pay £230,215 for disability discrimination to a police officer who was required to retire because his knee injury meant that he was unable to carry out front-line duties. The tribunal found that the police force had not met its duty to make reasonable adjustments because it had failed to consider alternative posts for him.
- Race discrimination against long-serving Sikh police officer. A long-serving police officer of Sikh origin successfully claimed that Bedfordshire Police committed race discrimination against him after he was passed over for promotion. He was awarded £209,188.
- Disciplining of Royal Bank of Scotland employee should have been delayed because of depression. In this case an employment tribunal awarded the former employee with £126,348 over the bank’s handling of allegations that he inappropriately accessed a number of accounts.
- In this case a Disciplinary procedure was not adapted for a NHS worker who was a kitchen assistant at St Thomas Foundation Trust. This employee had a “very significant” learning disability and was accused of spitting in a colleague’s coffee. The kitchen assistant was awarded£121,863 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.
- Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council mishandled a Disciplinary process for a bipolar council worker. In this case a disabled support worker was awarded £101,183 for the way in which disciplinary allegations over an altercation with a member of the public was handled.
At Consensus HR, we work with our clients to ensure that the correct policies, procedures and contracts are put into place and then acted upon. This ensures that the company:
- Operates well
- Improves on bottom line profit
- Reduces operating costs
- Is an employer of choice where the team are rewarded adequately for the work they complete and managed accordingly should the need arise.
“We do not claim this is easy,” says Matthew of Consensus HR “I always say “Rome was not built in a day” and we work with our clients on a continual basis to constantly improve whilst having a return on investment.”
Avoiding the expense of an Employment Tribunal costs much less than you may think. In fact, it can cost as little as £85 per month. Our rates are far lower than average fine of £234,180.30 that each of the above companies paid last year
To make sure that your business avoids an expensive Employment Tribunal, contact Matthew – HR Specialist on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01462 621423, 0774 7789279.