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How will you be affected by Employment Tribunal decisions

March 20th, 2017

The Employment Tribunal decision database went live at the beginning of February this year but what impact will this have on employers and employees?

The site is publicly available – https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions – and allows you to search by the names of the parties involved in the employment claim (employer or employee). Thus making information available as to who has brought a Tribunal claim, who has had a claim brought against them and what the outcome of that was.

With this information readily available for anyone and everyone, will this have an impact on candidates applying for roles and mean that checking of the Employment Tribunal decision database will become a standard procedure when considering candidates for interview?

We know that employers are unable to treat prospective employees less favourably because of a protected characteristic (age, sex, religion or belief, race, disability, sexual orientation, maternity & pregnancy or gender reassignment) as this would entitle the candidate to bring a discrimination claim against the employer.

However, not employing a job applicant because they have previously brought a claim against a former employer could amount to victimisation, also giving rise to a claim by that applicant against the employer.

So, an important notice for all employers to be aware of is…

If you do decide to check the Employment Tribunal decision database when considering your potential candidates for interview or employment, ensure that anything you find on the database does not form the basis of your decision as to whether to hire that applicant.

If you think that it will be too difficult to put aside something that is unearthed when making the decision whether to offer a candidate employment then perhaps checking the Employment Tribunal decision database is not the right choice.

It is important to remember that the Employment Tribunal decision database will only give you access to the final judgment in a case and so any of the evidence, witness statements and documents that were relied upon at the hearing will not be available.

Although you should be keeping documentary evidence of your whole recruitment process, to protect yourself against any potential claims, if you are going to check the Employment Tribunal decision database then it is even more important that precise and detailed notes and evidence are kept of the entire recruitment process and the reasons that an applicant was not selected for employment.

Just as employers are free to check the Employment Tribunal decision database in relation to potential or even existing employees, job applicants and employees can check the Employment Tribunal decision database in relation to their employer or potential employer.

Although it would take courage, it may well be that employers could face questions from candidates in relation to previous tribunal claims that they have been made aware of through the Employment Tribunal decision database. Again, employers must ensure that any questions received as a result of the applicant’s consideration of the Employment Tribunal decision database does not impact their decision in whether to employ them and, again, precise and detailed notes and evidence should be kept in relation to your decision making process.

If you are in need of any assistance with Employment Law, please contact our Head of Employment Law, Leah Waller, on 01494 773377 or email hello@lennonssolicitors.co.uk

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