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Inaccessible Justice : What Happens to Workers Who Don't Pursue Employment Claims?

Rose, Emily and Kirk, Eleanor and Busby, Nicole and Sims, Rhiannon (2017) Inaccessible Justice : What Happens to Workers Who Don't Pursue Employment Claims? [Report]

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Abstract

This report details findings from a pilot study that considered the experiences of workers who faced a workplace dispute that constituted a potential claim in the Employment Tribunal (ET) but, for whatever reason, did not pursue that claim. Two specific questions were examined. Firstly, why workers with employment disputes do not pursue potential claims against their employers. Secondly, what the costs are (financial, emotional and otherwise) for these workers of not formally accessing justice. The impetus for this work is the recent policy changes that have been introduced by the Coalition and Conservative governments to deter workers from taking claims to the ET. These include the requirement that workers must now be employed for a period of two years, instead of one, before they have the right to make a claim for unfair dismissal and the introduction of fees to take a claim to the ET. The government has largely justified these changes on the basis of the high level of costs arising from workers pursuing claims in the ET. It is claimed that such expenses are disproportionately borne by employers, in terms of time and money, and society, in terms of public expenditure and economic growth.