The Supreme Court has today ruled that workplace tribunal fees are unlawful, which means, as things currently stand, the Government is going to have to repay a rumoured £32m for cases heard since July 2013.
The Government introduced fees in 2013 to reduce the number of cases and this led to a 79% reduction over three years – anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against an employer has had to pay up to £1,200, with discrimination cases costing more for claimants because of the complexity and time hearings took.
The Supreme Court found this was indirectly discriminatory because a higher proportion of women would bring discrimination cases.
Unison has been arguing that the fees prevented workers getting access to justice.
Claim fees for unpaid wages, redundancy pay and breach of contract could set a worker back £160 plus an additional £230 for a hearing fee. For other claims, such as unfair dismissal, equal pay, discrimination and whistle blowing, the claim fee had been £250 plus £950 for the hearing.
Today’s ruling will undoubtedly have major implications for the Tribunals, Government and employers and workers across all sectors.