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Should employees have more time to bring sexual harassment claims?

22 October 2018

Your chance to have a say on the Law Commission's consultation paper, and other questions about the way employment tribunals work

Employment law tribunals and the current limitations

Did you know that employees cannot bring work-related personal injury claims to an employment tribunal? Or that employees cannot bring a breach of contract claim in the tribunal if they continue to be employed?  Did you know that an employment tribunal cannot decide claims about breaches of confidentiality or restrictive covenants?

What is in the Law Commission's consultation paper?

The Law Commission has published a consultation paper which considers these and other restrictions on the way in which employment tribunals work. As the law stands, employment tribunals have only limited jurisdiction to hear certain types of claims, even though employment tribunal judges may have considerable expertise in the area of law in question.

The consultation questions include:

  • Whether time limits for employment tribunal claims should be increased from three to six months. The paper notes that commentators have particularly raised the perceived unfairness of requiring people to bring a claim within three months in cases of pregnancy / maternity discrimination and sexual harassment.
  • Should some kinds of non-employment discrimination claims, for example relating to the provision of services, education, the management of premises or membership associations be heard in the employment tribunal rather than the county court?
  • Should the current £25,000 cap on breach of contract awards in the employment tribunal be increased and, if so, to what amount?
  • Whether the employment tribunal's jurisdiction to hear breach of contract claims should be extended, for example to cover cases where the employment relationship is continuing or where liability arises some time after termination.
  • Should employment tribunals in future be able to hear claims relating to personal injury, living accommodation, restrictive covenants, intellectual property and breach of confidentiality?
  • Are claims for negligence or breach of contract in relation to employee references better dealt with by an employment tribunal?
  • As both employment tribunals and the civil courts can hear equal pay claims, should the time limit for equal pay claims in the tribunal be extended from six months from the date of termination to six years from the date of the breach?

Information about how you can respond to the consultation and the full consultation paper is available here.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Alacoque Marvin or any other member of the Employment team on 0113 244 6100.

You can also keep up to date by following Wrigleys Employment team on Twitter

The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors

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Alacoque Marvin


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