26 July 2017

The Supreme Court has ruled that tribunal fees are unlawful, and that the government will have to repay up to £32 million to affected claimants.

Commenting on the news, Fawcett Chief Executive Sam Smethers said:

“Sex discrimination claims fell by 80% as a direct result of the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees. This is a victory for women everywhere who experience discrimination but who could not afford to bring a claim. ET fees should never have been introduced in the first place. As a result women have been denied justice and discrimination has gone unchecked and unchallenged.”

Since July 2013, employees taking their case to tribunal have faced fees ranging from £390 (for claims such as breach of contract) to £1,200 (for claims such as unfair dismissal or sex discrimination). Appeals cost up to a further £1,600.

The Supreme Court ruled the fees illegal out of concern that the level and structure of the fees were effectively preventing employees enforcing the rights granted to them by Parliament.

The Government announced it will immediately remove employment tribunal fees and reimburse those who have paid them over the past four years. It is not yet clear whether fees will be reintroduced in another form, or if the three-month time limit on bringing claims to an employment tribunal will be extended for those discouraged from making claims over the past four years.

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The Fawcett Society works to eradicate all forms of sex discrimination at work. Read more here.

Read the latest news related to women in the workplace here.

To find out more about pregnancy and maternity discrimination, visit Pregnant Then Screwed and Maternity Action, organisations Fawcett works closely with on this issue.