1. EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS CAN FINE ORGANISATIONS UP TO £5,000
Tribunals now have discretionary powers to issue financial penalties of up to £5,000 against employers who lose claims and where “aggravating features” are present. This penalty is payable directly to the Government and not the employee (or former employee) and in addition to any compensation ordered to be paid to the employee (or former employee).
Tribunals can award a penalty regardless of whether or not there is a financial award made to the employee (or former employee), although where a financial award is made, the penalty must be 50% of that award (subject to the overall cap of £5,000).
Aggravating factors could relate to an employer’s deliberate, malicious or negligent behaviour or the length (or repetition) of the breach that has resulted in the claim. A Tribunal will also consider any relevant factors including the size of the employer, whether it has dedicated HR support, and whether honest mistakes were made.
If an individual has brought a number of claims in relation to the same act, the Tribunal can only make a single financial penalty. Further, the penalty will be reduced by 50% were it is paid within 21 days after the judgment is issued.
When considering whether or not to defend a claim at Tribunal, this is yet another factor to be taken into account.