RIP-OFF fees for lodging unfair dismissal claims have resulted in a 79 per cent plummet in employment tribunals, new figures have revealed.
A report published by the Trades Union Congress titled What Price Justice? reveals that women are among the biggest losers from the four-figure fees, with the number of sex-discrimination cases dropping by 80 per cent.
Separate research from Citizens Advice revealed that many such cases would have a strong chance of success if they were taken to tribunal.
Since July 2013 justice has come at a hefty price of up to £1,200 for workers with family savings of more than £3,000, even if they are on the minimum wage.
TUC figures reveal that the number of claims based on discrimination on grounds of race and sexuality fell by 60 per cent.
There was also a 70 per cent drop in workers pursuing cases against their employers for paying below the minimum wage.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Employment tribunal fees have been a huge victory for Britain’s worst bosses.
“By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims the government has made it easier for bad employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.
“Tribunal fees are part of a wider campaign to get rid of workers’ basic rights. The consequence has been to price low-paid and vulnerable people out of justice.”
Citizens Advice meanwhile assessed 182 employment cases brought to its bureaus in June and July. The organisation’s advisers estimated that four in five of the cases had a fifty-fifty or higher chance of success — but just 31 per cent of these were now likely to proceed to tribunal. In more than half of cases, aggrieved workers said they were deterred by costs.
“Employers are getting away with unlawful sackings and withholding wages. People with strong employment claims are immediately defeated by high costs and fees,” said Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy.
“The risk of not being paid, even if successful, means for many the employment tribunal is just not an option. The cost of a case can sometimes be more than the award achieved and people can’t afford to fight on principle any more,” she said.