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Unfair dismissal tribunals increase for second time in a decade

Successful claims for unfair dismissal in employment tribunals increased for 2021/22, according to government records.

There were 630 successful unfair dismissal claims that received compensation in 2021/22, up 51% from the previous year.

The average amount paid out for unfair dismissal claims was £14,000, while the highest recorded pay-out for the year was £165,000.

This year marked only the second time since 2010/11 that unfair dismissal claims increased from the year before, the other year being 2018/19.

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For the second quarter of the financial year 2022/23 (July to September), the figures showed there were 18,000 tribunal cases across the UK.

Tribunals disposed of 13,000 cases – up 6% from the same period in 2021/22 – while there were 493,000 outstanding cases by the end of September 2022.

Compared with Q2 2021/22, overall tribunal receipts decreased by 19%, and caseload outstanding decreased by 3%.

The statistician commenting on the findings said early indications are that the number of tribunals are starting to stabilise year on year.

They said: "Overall volumes across His Majesty’s tribunals have increased for all activities – receipts, disposals and caseloads outstanding – this quarter, compared with the same period in the previous year. The outlook for employment tribunals is more varied. Here, receipts decreased and disposals increased.

"The tribunal has still not registered the substantial increase to receipts expected after furlough ended, in line with wider reporting on unemployment. It is still too early to say if the post-Covid recovery has peaked but it seems trends are beginning to stabilise."

Research from the Resolution Foundation in November 2022 found less than 1% of reports of discrimination from employees end up reaching an employment tribunal. 

Despite this findings, there were 200 discrimination cases where compensation was awarded across the year, with the highest single pay-out being £228,000 for a race discrimination case.

Between 2021 and 2022, tribunal cases relating to workplace banter, neurodivergent workers, and flexible working all increased. 

Claims for sexual orientation discrimination had the largest average pay out at £33,000.