Employment tribunals are increasing, at an alarming rate, and whilst this was both predictable and inevitable in the wake of a global pandemic, it is still troubling.
Tribunals are up 18% from the same period last year, and this only looks set to go one way.
It seems that many employers are forgetting the basics when it comes to making redundancies, with lawyers keen to remind any companies who may be acting in haste, that employment law hasn’t simply gone away overnight.
It’s chaotic and frantic and desperate, and everything else in between, but this isn’t an excuse for employers to treat people with discrimination based on age, as seems to be happening in some cases.
Older employees are being laid off with no real reason, others are being rushed through redundancy processes, and the urgency with which companies are doing this leaves them open to claims and appeals from the unfortunate individuals concerned.
Even when there are adequate grounds for dismissal, the immediacy of the situation can mean that the i’s are not properly dotted and the t’s are not properly crossed.
It’s a minefield for employers right now, and lawyers are warning that whilst it might feel like the Wild West out there, it is anything but.
They need to tread carefully...
...because unfairly dismissed employees could cost a company a lot more in the long run, than it would to keep them on for as long as possible, or at least to follow the correct procedures when removing them from post.
For those seeking representation with tribunals, there could be a long wait, as the backlog is already like a rush hour standstill on the M6.
The take home message for employers here, has to be that redundancies should not be used as a disguise for breaches in employment law.
It simply isn’t right, and it will cause more damage to the company in the long run.
Things are going to get increasingly messy, that’s a given, but the more everyone plays by the rules, the better we’ll all come out of this.