Wednesday, 23 May 2012

EAT to lose lay members......and other employment law reforms....

What was I saying about fighting for the industrial jury?

Now its appellate big brother in the EAT is going- clause 12 of the newly introduced Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill - the default position is going to be

Proceedings before the Appeal Tribunal are to be heard by a judge

Unless the Judge orders that lay members should be present.  I am not as upset about this as losing lay members in Employment Tribunals as the EAT only hears appeals on the law - still another example of lay involvement in civil just being eroded  - all for the sake of saving ££££££££

In a similar vein clause 6 of the Bill seems to be putting Judges in the Employment Tribunal at risk in certain limited circumstances...what's a legal officer?

Decisions by legal officers
(1) In section 4 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (composition of a tribunal),
after subsection (6C) insert—
“(6D) A person appointed as a legal officer in accordance with regulations
under section 1(1) may determine proceedings in respect of which an
employment tribunal has jurisdiction, or make a decision falling to be
made in the course of such proceedings, if—
(a) the proceedings are of a description specified in an order under
this subsection made by the Secretary of State and the Lord
Chancellor acting jointly, and
(b) all the parties to the proceedings consent in writing;
and any determination or decision made under this subsection shall be
treated as made by an employment tribunal.”

Clause 12 will give HMG powers to further cap compensation for unfair dismissal:

The limit as so varied may be—
(a) a specified amount, or
(b) a specified number multiplied by a week’s pay of the individual
or it may be the lower of those things.
(3) Different amounts may be specified by virtue of subsection (2)(a) in relation to
employers of different descriptions.
(4) An amount specified by virtue of subsection (2)(a)—
(a) may not be less than median annual earnings;
(b) may not be more than three times median annual earnings.

& Clause 13 introduces fines for naughty employers- so less money for employees, but more for HM Treasury?

13 Power of employment tribunal to impose financial penalty on employers etc
(1) After section 12 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 insert—
“Financial penalties
12A Financial penalties
(1) Where an employment tribunal determining a claim involving an
employer and a worker—
(a) concludes that the employer has breached any of the worker’s
rights to which the claim relates, and
(b) is of the opinion that the breach has one or more aggravating
the tribunal may order the employer to pay a penalty to the Secretary
of State (whether or not it also makes a financial award against the
employer on the claim).
(2) The amount of a penalty under this section shall be—
(a) at least £100;
(b) no more than £5,000.

Lots to look forward to.....................

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