Ruling re-opens door to tribunal

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A BLACKPOOL law firm is warning that there could be a surge in tribunal claims following a recent legal judgment.

Employment law specialist, David Aird, at Blackhurst Budd LLP, believes a recent case in the West Midlands could open the way for employees who thought they’d left it too long to take an employer to court.

The recent Court of Appeal case, involved a group of female workers in the West Midlands who won a decision on equal pay claims, despite being outside the time limit of six months to bring a case at an Employment Tribunal.

Birmingham City Council had to pay bonuses to 174 female employees, who had been excluded from reward schemes.

The Edward Street expert said: “This judgment means that workers who have run out of time to claim compensation through a tribunal could still make a case.

“As a result there is the potential for a surge in claims as ex staff that were originally outside the six month time limit to bring a claim through a tribunal have the option of taking their case to the civil court, where they have six years to make their case.”

Mr Aird however advises that it is better to act quickly if you have a claim and go through the tribunal system, rather than take the civil court route.

He added: “The Birmingham case does mean there is now the potential option for people who have left it long to claim for a Tribunal, but if you have a legitimate claim it’s far better to act swiftly through the normal channels.”

Forum of Private Business chief executive Phil Orford said: “As with much of the legislation affecting small businesses, employment law can be a huge minefield and one of the main problems is that it is constantly changing, with new regulations coming in all the time.

New agency worker regulations are also coming into force this year, giving any temporary staff working for more than 12 weeks at a firm the same rights to holidays and benefits such as healthcare as full time workers.