On 20 September the MoJ released statistics for employment tribunal claims for the year ending 31 March 2012, showing a continued decline in tribunal claims. In total, 186,300 claims were made, a 15% fall on the previous year. 

What is interesting about the Government’s announcements today is that BIS does not appear to have changed course since the introduction of Michael Fallon into the Ministerial Team mix. Fallon was parachuted into the Department only last week with the Government reshuffle, as the “voice of business”, some would even say as a Tory spy, so as to keep an eye on Vince Cable, but what has been released today is very much what we have been expecting since before the summer break.

The prevalence of social media in the workplace continues apace. Employees can often access social media through both employer IT facilities and personal devices. This naturally increases the risk that employees may breach employment policies and/or act unlawfully both in the course of employment and through their actions outside of employment bringing the employer into disrepute.

From an employment perspective it is difficult to read the extent to which the Government reshuffle will mark a change in direction for the employment team at BIS (the former DTI).

The Government has published its response to the consultation on introducing fees in employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.   Announcing the fees that will apply “from summer 2013”, the Justice Minister stated “We want people, where they can, to pay a fair contribution for the system they are using, which will encourage them to look for alternatives” (for example, mediation, ACAS conciliation or directly negotiated settlement).