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Lawyers are revolting!

The recent publication by the UK Ministry Of Justice of a 79% drop in the number of applications to Employment tribunals in the October to December 2013 quarter compared to the previous year has caused hysteria in employment lawyer circles. Within an hour of the publication one Employment law digest had issued an entreaty to lawyers “Don't Kill Yourself Yet...” !!  

This reduction has resulted from the introduction of fees in July 2013, and employment lawyers fear further blows to their caseloads with the implementation of Early Conciliation on 6 April 2014, which will give an ACAS conciliation officer the opportunity to try to resolve the dispute without the need for tribunal proceedings.  If the employment lawyers are unhappy, how should CEOs and HRDs be feeling? 

My view is that these developments are welcome from a management perspective – it is in everyone’s interests that   employee concerns are resolved as early as possible in the process.  Employers need to be mindful however that if employees are no longer jumping to take issues straight to employment tribunals, there is still a challenge for employers to address.

Disgruntled employees may stay with the company but may well be disengaged or worse disruptive, with the accompanying adverse impact on morale and productivity. 

One of the truths of the workplace remains - the longer an issue is left to be resolved, the more difficult it will be to resolve, and the more money it will cost the company.