Those who follow Scottish football will know we’re in the middle of the January transfer window.
Many will also know Ross County has a reputation for taking full use of this opportunity to sign new players and refresh its team.
So no doubt County fans will not be too surprised to learn later this month someone will make a debut appearance at their home ground — the Global Energy Stadium.
However, before they get over-excited I should point out that the person is ...me.
Don’t worry, this isn’t an attempt to sabotage the team’s push for promotion: I’m not getting anywhere near the pitch, or even the subs’ bench.
Instead I will be appearing in conjunction with our friends at the Press and Journal as the speaker in an upcoming business breakfast on Wednesday, 30 January. This is in the stadium, with kick off at 8am and the full-time whistle will blow at 10am.
I will be looking at one of the biggest stories in employment law: the return of the employment tribunal.
I appreciate the tribunal system is nothing new; however, (to stretch the football analogy one last time) it was a sleeping giant that has returned to prominence after a few years in the doldrums.
The employment tribunal’s decline can be dated to July 2013. It was the direct result of the introduction of fairly hefty fees most claimants had to pay if they wanted to pursue a case. The impact was staggering, with a 70% reduction in claims.
Fast forward to July 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled the fee regime was unlawful prompting the government to abolish fees, at least for the time being.
Given the impact of the introducing fees, would their removal have an equally dramatic result?
That’s exactly what happened. We have now seen the rise of the tribunal almost to pre-2013 numbers with a 90% increase in claims.
Accordingly an employer’s chances of being taken to a tribunal in 2019 are far higher than they were less than two years ago.
Back to the Global Stadium where I’ll focus on how best to avoid being the caught up in the increased number of claims.
In particular, my 25 years of representing employers at tribunals have taught me a few things about how to reduce the risk of being sued. I’ll also share my five-step guide to help any employer robustly defend a claim, if it comes down to that.
I will also slay a few myths about the tribunal system, including that it’s biased towards employees, or that the result is a lottery. If that’s the advice being given, my inclination would be to change adviser rather than ditch the system.
There will also be breakfast with plenty of time for chat and networking. So we hope to see you there.
For those that cannot make it we will be revisiting the tribunals at our employment law cafe in Aberdeen on 8 February.
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