New data released by HM Courts and Tribunals Service shows a dramatic rise in the number of employment claims issued and accepted by tribunals. Over July to September 2016, claims rose to 31,415, up 37% on the same quarter last year.

Until July 2013 claimants could bring claims to employment tribunals free of charge, but following concerns over the cost of the system, and the prevalence of spurious claims, the Ministry of Justice introduced fees of £160 - £250 to issue a claim. This lead to an immediate 70% drop in the volume of claims. As such, the latest quarterly data represents a partial reversal of that trend.

The recent rise was driven almost exclusively by an increase in Working Time Directive claims, often brought to tribunals as collective cases. These increased almost seven-fold over the same period last year, and now represent just over half (55%) of all claims being made.

The second most common type of claim was discrimination claims, where employees felt discriminated against by their employer on the grounds of gender, race, age, religious belief or sexual orientation – collectively these represented 9% of all claims in the quarter.

Unfair dismissal (7%), equal pay claims (6%) and unauthorised wage deductions (4%) were the next most common types of claim issued to tribunal.

If you are an employee who believes their employer has acted unlawfully, or are an employer needing employment law advice, please enquire with Contact Law today, so that we can ensure you receive the specialist employment law advice you need.