by Laurie Anstis on July 11, 2011
At the end of June, the government published the employment tribunal statistics for the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.
The headline figure was that the overall number of claims was down 8% against the previous year, but up 44% against the year before that. As always, the statistics were distorted by multiple claims lodged in bulk – this time particularly the airline working time cases, which are apparently re-submitted every three months and which contributed substantially to the 20% increase in claims under the Working Time Regulations 1998.
These airline claims were also a feature of the 2009 – 2010 statistics, which showed a sharp rise of almost 400% in claims under the Working Time Regulations. I am not aware of any figures showing just how many of these airline claims there are, but with them being submitted every three months, each individual claim will figure four times in the annual statistics. The report for 2010 – 2011 notes that the Working Time Regulations claims are made up “largely” of the airline claims, and they may also figure heavily in the increased claims of unlawful deductions from wages. If the numbers for working time and wages deductions claims matched those for 2008 – 2009, then the overall figures for 2010 – 2011 would come in below the 2008 – 2009 figures, rather than 44% above them. Apart from these jurisdictions, and a couple of points I will mention below, the trend seems to be for claims to be levelling off or declining.
What of discrimination claims? I focussed on these in my earlier post when the figures for the previous quarter came out. At that time I suggested that the number of age discrimination claims would supersede the number of race discrimination claims for the first time, and that has happened this year, with 6,800 age discrimination claims as against 5,000 race discrimination claims. With the default retirement age now abolished, it is easy to see age discrimination claims exceeding the number of disability discrimination claims (currently at 7,200) and maybe even in time approaching the number of sex discrimination claims (now at 18,300). There are many issues still to be resolved in the field of age discrimination (a number of which are considered by Christopher Jeans QC here (pdf)) and it will be fascinating to see how this area of law develops.
The final element of the statistics to comment on is the increase in the number of claims under the Part-time Workers Regulations, up by almost 300% to a still relatively modest figure of 1,600. This increase suggests to me that we may be seeing multiple claims in this area too, although I do not know what they might be.