• Robert Spicer

Resolving workplace disputes

The Government recently published its Response to the Consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes. In it, the Government indicated a clear message that the employment law system needed a radical overhaul;

“For it is clear that the system is not working as originally intended and is often not a positive experience for either employer or employee.”

Quite what the Government were thinking when they made that statement is beyond comprehension – Often not a positive experience… Going beyond the insinuation that there are some employees and employers who positively relish employment tribunals, the statement appears immensely ignorant. Of course it’s not a positive experience; neither is being dismissed unfairly, being victimised, being discriminated against, being made redundant. Life revolves around one’s work, when that relationship is damaged it shakes us to the core – for both employees and employers. The idea that employment tribunals are intended to be this happy place of mediation and agreement is absurd; too much is at stake. If the issues were resolvable between the parties, they would have done so way before the law got involved. And that is the worrying point that comes from this – this paradox between “resolving workplace disputes” and the focus on conciliation. Employment law should be viewed as family law; a nasty, deeply unpleasant experience for all those involved, which has only come to light because of the inability to agree.

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