Men more likely to go to tribunal than women

Employment disputes with male employees were significantly more likely to reach tribunal stage between 2011 and 2021 than those with female employees.

In a Freedom of Information (FOI) request obtained by HR magazine Ministry of Justice data showed that men made up the majority of claimants in 18 of its 22 categories of tribunal case.

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The only four categories where more women made it to tribunal were for equal pay (70% women), part-time workers (65%), sex discrimination (69%), and detriment or dismissal because of pregnancy (82%).

While claimants are not required to divulge their gender, the vast majority do.

Over the 10-year period, women were least likely to claim against rushed redundancy procedures, with 68% of cases brought by men.

Pam Loch, founder and principal at employment law and HR firm Loch Associates Group, told HR magazine women have typically been held back from taking claims all the way to the tribunal for a number of reasons.

First among these, she said, has been the power imbalance between genders at work.

Said: “Men may perceive there being greater economic stakes in employment claims, due to factors such as higher salaries, positions of authority, and financial responsibilities.”

Social expectations, she added, might likewise pressure men to follow their claims through to tribunal; women, however, might be disheartened by negative past experiences in appealing to authority, or perceptions of bias within the legal system.

Shakil Butt, founder of consultancy HR Hero for Hire, told HR magazine the figures demonstrated the effects of historic domination of the workplace by men.

He said: “The world of work as we know it in the contemporary age was constructed by the likes of Taylor, Fayol, Ford and Deming, [originators of scientific management theory].

"White, able-bodied men imagining a world of work for other white able-bodied men like themselves: what we are seeing could be the ripple effect of that ‘man’s world’.”

He added men may simply be more comfortable airing their views and raising objections to their treatment at work too.

“They may feel more enabled and supported by existing structures and societal norms, compared to women who have struggled to compete in a ‘man's world’, so are more likely to conform, allow themselves to be stifled, to be gaslighted into thinking their issues are not real or substantive and just accept that culture is not inclusive.”

Loch added, however, that her firm had experienced a sharp rise in the number of women raising grievances at work, potentially because of the #MeToo movement.

“In recent years,” she added, “there has been an increased awareness and empowerment among women regarding their rights in the workplace.

“This has resulted in more women being informed about their legal options and feeling empowered to come forward, assert their rights and file employment claims when they believe their rights have been violated.”

The #MeToo movement, she said: “Prompted many organisations to re-evaluate their policies, procedures, and workplace cultures to address these concerns more effectively.”

Upcoming reforms to the Workers Protection amendment to the 2010 Equality Act will place a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.