HM Courts & Tribunals Service recently revealed that from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, the Employment Tribunals received an overall total of 218,100 claims.

This represents an 8% fall compared to the previous year (but a 44% increase on 2008-09). Compared to 2009-10 this comprised a 15% fall in single claims and a 4% fall in multiple claims.

There were 122,800 disposals during 2010-11, which was a 9% increase compared to the previous year and 33% more than in 2008-09. The rise in disposals was principally seen in multiple cases, which increased by 27% between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

The number of sex discrimination cases was slightly up, with 18,300 in 2010/11, compared to 18,200 in 2009/10. The number of claims for race and disability discrimination fell.

The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) has raised concerns over a sharp rise in the number of age discrimination claims. The figures show that in the year up to 31 March 2011, 6,800 age discrimination claims were filed, a rise of 31% on the previous year’s number (5,200) and a 79% rise since 2008/9.

Chris Ball, Chief Executive of TAEN, commented:

“These figures show a dramatic rise in the number of age discrimination claims in the past two years and emphasise the importance of employers becoming more age-aware.

“Against a backdrop of a number of high-profile ageism cases, the ending of the default retirement age and rising levels of redundancy and unemployment, many more people believe that they are being discriminated against. These figures relate only to claims and the majority will not succeed in tribunal, but the sheer numbers suggest that they can’t all be wrong.

“With further job losses expected in the public sector and the lingering idea that older workers are a burden, we would not be surprised to see these figures continue to rise.

“Employers must have appropriate policies in place to deal with issues like redundancies, recruitment and pay. In all of these areas, age should be completely out of the equation.”