Our post on December 24th was entitled “Employment Tribunal Fees: Latest Survey Shows 4 of 5 Deterred From Filing Claim.” It was about the fees required to have an employment dispute adjudicated in the UK and the survey which found it a major deterrence resonated with a lot of folks.
We noted that the UK’s The Independent reported that “Employment tribunal fees have been branded ‘a barrier to justice’, and that survey the charity Citizens Advice has found that “the fees made more than four out of five workers less likely to claim, or deterred them from claiming at all. Over four in 10 of those with employment troubles had a household income of less than £46 a week after essential bills, highlighting the gulf between the high fees and working wages.”
One US reader told us the US had its own problems and since he knew little of the UK system, the article was not “relevant” to him.
However, another reader from the UK had strong feelings: “The judicial system as a whole is institutionally biased against disadvantaged groups in society.” His comment has some gravitas to it since he was an EAT member for more than 30 years.
Jim Thakoordin,a training and management consultant in Luton, UK:
“Thank you for this information Richard. As a past member of Employment Tribunals for over 30 years, I have always felt that the employees were always at a disadvantage, even when they are represented by either their trade union or by legally qualifies representatives. For those who represent themselves the outcome is invariably worse for them.
It is very rarely the case that the applicant wins entirely on the merit of their case, as so much depends on the actual presentation by the claimant or their representative; their ability to cross examine the employer and their witnesses; understand of the tribunal procedures and the legal system of what constitutes evidence and also personal characteristics.
Remember, the Tribunal and indeed the legal system is managed and adjudicated mainly by white men from a middle class background whose personal knowledge of the world of work outside the legal profession is very limited. The judicial system as a whole is institutionally biased against disadvantaged groups in society.”