In a Westminster Hall debate, MPs have argued that employment tribunal fees are undermining employee rights and having a “punitive” effect by preventing thousands of workers from bringing claims. Justin Madders MP argued that the fee system “not only prevents access to justice, but feeds the myth that employment rights are some sort of undesirable impediment to properly functioning businesses”.
Others, such as Ruth Cadbury MP, highlighted the fact that women had particularly felt the damaging impact of fees, with a sharp decline in pregnancy-related discrimination and sex discrimination claims. MPs also rejected the idea that ACAS early conciliation was responsible for the fall in claims, and questioned whether fees had been successful in weeding out vexatious claims.
Responding to these concerns, Minister for Justice, Shailesh Vara stated that the government was reviewing how successful the fees regime has been and would bring any proposed consultation forward if compelling arguments were made that it was not working.