Tribunal fees put people off

Joe Michna from CAB in Park Road.
Joe Michna from CAB in Park Road.

CITIZEN advice chiefs in Hartlepool have raised concerns that employment tribunal costs are “putting people off” from making valid claims.

Joe Michna, manager at Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau, is concerned some employers may be getting away with not paying wages, holiday pay and notice payments, and has called for a review of the system.

New national research shows seven in 10 potentially successful cases are not pursued by people at employment tribunals, and only 14 per cent of valid claims are being taken forward.

The fee for an unfair dismissal and discrimination claim can be up to £1,200, while money claims for wages and holiday pay can be up to £480.

Mr Michna said: “People who have legitimate claims must be able to make their voices heard at Employment Tribunals.

“Here in Hartlepool we see people visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau after employers have failed to pay their wages or dismissed them without good reason.

“The Employment Tribunal system must work for all in Hartlepool and be respected by all parties.

“Fees should not be a barrier between justice and bad employment practices.”

Government figures for the first quarter of 2014 also show that compared to the same time last year, there was a reduction in tribunal claims in the North-East of 62 per cent.

Mr Michna added: “Citizens Advice wants to see a fair and robust review of the employment tribunal system to make it work for all people and employment abuses eradicated.”

Hartlepool CAB, at 86 Park Road, runs drop-in sessions, where no appointment is needed, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, between 9.30am and 3pm.

People should call (01429) 408401.