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Covid creates surge in number of people bringing tribunal claims

COVID-19 image of hand signing a documentThe Covid pandemic has led to a surge in the number of employees bringing claims to the Employment Tribunal, according to research carried out by Citizens Advice.

It says that if claims continue to increase at the current rate, the number could pass 500,000 by the spring.

Even this could be a conservative estimate, the charity is warning, as it does not include a potential rise in employment tribunal cases following the wave of redundancies expected as the furlough scheme ends.

The charity’s analysis shows the backlog for individual cases has already passed the post-2008 financial crisis record, with 37,000 workers in the queue.

Citizens Advice’s research has previously shown that disabled people, those asked to shield, and parents and carers are at least twice as likely to be facing redundancy as the rest of the working population. For many workers caught in the coronavirus redundancy crisis, employment tribunals will offer the only route to protecting their rights.

The charity has raised concerns over potential employment malpractice cases which could lead to a tribunal, including:

• a person who was told they had to come into work despite needing to self-isolate because someone they lived with had tested positive for coronavirus

• a parent who believes they are more at risk of redundancy than their colleague because their childcare responsibilities mean they can’t work overtime

• a worker who was told they’d lost their job by text. They had been with their employer for more than two years and were entitled to a fair redundancy process, including a meeting.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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