Discrimination at work allowed to “flourish unchecked” as employment tribunal claims fall sharply in the Midlands, says TUC    4 November 2016

TUC condemns steep fees which allow bad bosses to get away with discrimination and unfair treatment.

New analysis published by the TUC show that the number of working people in the Midlands challenging discrimination or unfair treatment at work has fallen sharply since charges of up to £1,200 came in.  

The analysis shows that since employment tribunal fees were introduced sex discrimination claims have fallen by a staggering 9 in 10 (-91%) in the region.  And there have been sharp falls in challenges over unfair dismissal (-70%), race discrimination (-68%) and disability discrimination (-63%) claims.

The TUC says the figures show that a key mechanism to stamp out discrimination and stop unfair sackings is broken, allowing discrimination to “flourish unchecked”.

The Ministry of Justice was due to publish a review on the impact of fees by the end of 2015. However, nearly a year on, nothing has happened. The TUC says the review must be published urgently and is calling on Theresa May and Phillip Hammond to abolish fees in next month’s Autumn Statement.


TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:

“These figures show a huge drop in Midlands workers seeking justice when they’ve been unfairly treated. Now bosses know they can get away with it, discrimination at work can flourish unchecked and people can be sacked without good reason.

“The evidence is there for all to see. These fees – of up to £1200, even if you’re on the minimum wage – are pricing out thousands each month from pursuing cases.

“Theresa May has repeatedly said she wants to govern for ordinary working people. Here is a perfect opportunity. She could reverse employment tribunal fees, and make sure workers can challenge bad employers in court.”  


Claims being taken to employment tribunal in the Midlands


Disability discrimination

Race discrimination

Sex discrimination

Unfair dismissal












63% drop

68% drop

91% drop

70% drop

 Source: Ministry of Justice


- Under the current fees system, workers have to pay up to £1,200 to take claim to tribunal, including minimum wage workers if a member of their household has savings of £3,000.


- The number of single claim cases has fallen by 69% between 2012/13 and 2015/16. The number of multiple claim cases (where more than one person brings a claim against the same employer) has fallen by 79%.


- Acas figures for 2015/16 show that they received notification of over 90,000 employment disputes and 65% of these were not settled by Acas or did not progress to an employment tribunal.


- In June 2015/16 the Justice Select Committee carried out a review of court and tribunal fees and it concluded “the regime of employment tribunal fees has had a significant adverse impact on access to justice for meritorious claims” and “if there were to be a binary choice between income from fees and preservation of access to justice, the latter must prevail as a matter of broader public policy.”