Introducing fees to take claims to Employment Tribunals could have a huge impact on ensuring equality at work, TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, will warn a conference today (Friday).

In December the Government announced a package of measures including an overhaul of Employment Tribunals. Under the changes workers with a gross annual income of at least £13,000 a year (the minimum wage for a full-time job) or couples with a joint income above £18,000 a year could have to pay towards these fees – to pursue discrimination cases.

The TUC says that if the plans come into law, it will be harder in future to get proper enforcement and compliance with the law as employers will know that they face little realistic prospect of being held to account.

Said Brendan Barber:

“For the first time, individuals will have to pay as much as £1,750 to have a discrimination or equal pay claim heard by an Employment Tribunal – among the highest fees are to be charged under the proposed system.

“This is chequebook justice pure and simple and is a profoundly regressive step. As so few discrimination claims succeed at Tribunal anyway, many potential claimants, particularly those who lack the support of a union, would be put off from making a claim – giving a green light to unscrupulous employers to discriminate at will. That’s something that ought to concern everyone who cares about justice, fairness and equality.”