30 April 2010
The Employment Forum has released 2 consultation papers which seek views on:
- the current enforcement procedure in respect of ‘vexatious’ employment tribunal claims
- the statutory procedure for collective consultation with staff representatives and trade unions when an employer is proposing redundancies.
Vexatious employment tribunal claims
The first paper deals with ‘vexatious’ employment tribunal claims. Employers sometimes believe that complaints made against them by former employees are without merit or malicious, while employees generally believe that they have a genuine grievance against their former employer. The Forum’s White Paper sets out the current enforcement procedure and makes suggestions for improving it so that vexatious claims are less likely to proceed to a full tribunal hearing.
Chairman of the Employment Forum, David Robinson, said “The Forum has tried to achieve a balance between filtering out employees whose claims are without merit, so that employers are not faced with excessive costs, while not allowing employers to use the threat of legal costs to deter employees with genuine claims.”
The second paper deals with the collective redundancy consultation provisions, as set out in the (yet to be enacted) redundancy law. The Employment Law already requires that employers consult employees individually when making redundancies. The new law will require employers to consult collectively with a trade union representative when proposing 2 or more redundancies in a 90 day period, or to consult with an elected staff representative on behalf of employees when proposing 6 or more redundancies in a 90 day period. A significant financial penalty for failure to comply will also be introduced.
In April 2009, the States agreed to reduce the number of proposed redundancies that would trigger the requirement for an employer to consult with union and staff representatives in collective redundancy situations, from 21 as recommended by the Forum. The consultation asks whether the whole package of collective consultation procedures and penalties should be refined in accordance with that reduced threshold.
David Robinson said "The practicalities that the collective consultation are intended to assist with are aimed at large scale redundancies and do not apply in small scale redundancies. This issue is likely to polarise the views of employers and trade unions and the Forum expects that small employers will be particularly concerned. I encourage anyone who could be affected by the issues discussed in either consultation document to put forward their views."
The Forum is holding a public meeting at lunchtime on Wednesday 9 June to give people the opportunity to discuss both topics in small groups. Key issues from the workshop will be fed into the recommendation. The consultation closes on Friday 18 June and recommendations will be presented to the Minister in August 2010.
To receive a copy of this consultation, to be included on the Forum’s database for future consultations, or to attend the workshop on 9 June, please contact the Forum's secretary K.Morel@gov.je or telephone 447204.