Will the pandemic mean more employment tribunal claims for employers?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, employees have had to face job losses and redundancies, while a large number have had to come to terms with being furloughed. Inevitably, this has created a focus on businesses that have behaved immorally, with stories of businesses forcing furloughed staff to work and tales of employers conducting mass redundancy meetings remotely with no consultation. If these incidences are true it is likely that many businesses will face an increasing rise in employee claims in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Some employers therefore should prepare for claims that will be made due to poor business decisions that were made during the crisis.

It is clear that some employers made decisions in a hurry when the first Lockdown was imposed and whilst many tried to make these decisions responsibly, inevitably mistakes have been made. With little time to prepare or plan, businesses have needed to make critical decisions whilst having to navigate changing legislation and guidance from the Government. This has left many employers potentially vulnerable, with business owners and managers confused about their duties and responsibilities to their employees.

It is anticipated that there will also be potential dismissals as a result of staff furloughing and redundancies. For example, if employees perceive that the reason they were or weren’t furloughed, or were selected for redundancy was related to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, they may seek to make a claim for unlawful discrimination. As always, 121 HR Solutions is available to support employers facing such claims.

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