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Consultation on Employment Tribunals and claims reform is good news, says the ARC

Consultation on Employment Tribunals and claims reform is good news, says the ARC

The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) welcomes the government's consultation, published recently, into 'Resolving Workplace Disputes', which sets out the government's proposals on Employment Tribunal ("ET") claims reform.

The ARC highlighted to the government last year how the current ET rules present an imbalance in favour of the claimant, and has been running a campaign since May 2010. The unfairness, which the consultation now addresses, is because claims that have no merit or are possibly vexatious are allowed to be issued and the Tribunals have been reluctant to strike them out early on. As the cost of defending a claim can rarely be recovered, it is often a cheaper route for the employer to pay out.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC, commented "I am very glad that the government is recognising the points that we have been making. One key proposal was that there should be an early review of the application to sort out the good claims from the bad and thus reduce the number of claims. It appears from the consultation document that the government's proposed dual approach of requiring all claims to run through ACAS first and then tightening up the review powers of the Tribunal are very much in line with our ideas."

The ARC contends that the sooner the new rules are in place the better, given that claims may be set to increase after October 2011 when the Agency Worker's Regulations apply. New fairer rules would also help to reduce the burden on agencies when their agency workers' claim employment rights against the hirer, as under current case law few claims of this nature are likely to succeed.

The ARC met with the Minister last year to discuss these ideas in detail, and will provide a response on behalf of its members. The consultation is set to close on 20th April 2011. Agencies wishing to participate in ARC's response should contact the ARC employment team.

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