On January 27th 2011 the CIPD welcomed the launch of the Employers’ Charter aiming to expose some of the unproven claims within employment law. The CIPD are also backing further plans to give the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) a greater role in attempting to keep workplace disputes out of the courts.
The Employers’ Charter proposes to increase the period of time before employees can open a case with the tribunal in regards to unfair dismissal. Currently the duration stands at one year however the new law states that an employee can only claim against unfair dismissal after two years of employment. However comments have arisen claiming that this newly enforced law is unlikely to make significant reductions to the growing number of employment tribunal claims.
Until now Acas have had little power to intervene between employers and employees in regards to unfair dismissals. However the CIPD are hoping to enable Acas to have more power and involvement to get both parties to negotiate and settle disputes by considering alternative means, to avoid court action.
Further to an increase in Acas’ involvement and to increase the time before employees can open a case, the CIPD are supporting plans for deposit costs to increase when opening a case, in a bid to deter any weak or false cases.
Despite the CIPD supporting these plans, suggestions have been made that they are unlikely to create a major impact upon the number of established cases, as many claims are linked to discrimination, which is not limited by the length of time an employee has worked. Further to this, the new laws may become challenged in courts due to statistics claiming the turnover rate for women is higher than for men thus the new law could unfairly exclude more women.
The Employers’ Charter appears to be a step in the right direction however employers can take action themselves to avoid such cases arising, by ensuring line managers are properly equipped with the skills to manage staff successfully. In the mean time the CIPD are continuing to work alongside the government to improve on methods of good practice and line management capabilities.