Nov 24, 2017 in Law

What is the role played by tribunals and the courts in enforcing employment law? To what extent is the tribunal system fit for purpose?

Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 is a document which regulates the relationships between tribunals and the courts in enforcing employment law. This is a legal act which defines their roles and place in the legal system of the country. According to this act, important changes occur in the structure of courts and judicial system in general. The first point discussed in this act is the judicial independence. Independence of the juries is a fundamental law of the whole legal system not only in the country but also in the whole world. It is essential to keep in mind the fact that the diversity in the tribunals is increased by means of reducing the required length of experience. The general structure has been changed as well as the different procedures. The role of courts and tribunals in the enforcing employment law has changed as well.

According to the Enforcing Employment Law all the laws “are broken on a regular basis, including employment laws; where enforcement regimes are very weak, the law is seriously undermined and workers cannot access their rights” (Sellers, 2009, p. 1). In other words, employment law is still developing. Many laws are written on the basis of the specific court procedures which held every day. Employees cannot have guarantees in their position, as every day the law may changes and as a result their positions and salaries may occur in risk. However, the improvement of the condition should take place. Still, the law does not provide any guarantees. An employee has an opportunity to suit to the court and there are chances that he/she is going to win the case, however, if the similar case has already been held and a decision is made with the negative outcome for an employee, a court is going to refuse him/her on the basis of the already existing law. There are a lot of similar cases, where the decisions of the court are based on the already held law cases. This is the main idea of the broken laws.

Tribunals are defined as the final institution a person may refer to in case he/she does not agree with the decision made by the court. Tribunals deal with the cases when a court decision seems correct due to the fact as it is based on the law, however, there are many contradicting issues which may refuse court’s decisions. This is want a tribunal may do. Reading the Enforcing Employment Rights: The Employment Act 2008, the following statement is written, that any illegal act “will be suspended pending an appeal by the employer to an Employment Tribunal over the details of the notice” (Sellers, 2009, p. 5). Employment Tribunal is a specific organ of the legislative power in the country which may affect court’s decision and maintain just.  

The role played by tribunals and the courts in enforcing employment law is great and tribunals perfectly fit their purpose. Being unstable and constantly changing, enforcing employment law cannot guarantee stable employees protection. Employees need some guarantees, they need to have an institution they will be able to turn to in case of specific problems. Employment Tribunal is exactly such an institution. Therefore, working people have the guarantees even though the legislation does not offer stable laws in the employment sphere. Employees may feel protection if not from the courts, but from tribunals as justice will be achieved if an employee is sure in his/her fair behavior and illegal or unfair actions of the employer. 

Computeright Ltd: Case Study

Computeright Ltd is a software developer with 200 employees. Having occupied a position of a new sales director, Alan decided to re-organize a company. Having presented two main ideas, Alan needs to make sure that these decisions are not too risky and employees are going to be satisfied. Alan is interested in employee protection and the possibility of law cases directed at the company because of illegal attitude to employees. The changes have occurred in two spheres of the company functioning. The first change deals with the increase of the payments to employees. Having fixed monthly salaries, employees receive 20% increase if they meet sales target. Alan offers to increase commission to 100% making sure that all employees meet sales target. The cases devoted to such situations are absent as there are no people who refuse from receiving additional payments. There is a law case devoted to the equal pay act, based on material factor defense and justification (Skills Development Scotland Co Ltd v Buchanan & Anor (Equal Pay Act: Material factor defense and justification, 2011; Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v Bainbridge, 2008; Gibson v Sheffield City Council, 2010). This case is devoted to the justification of the equal payment for all employees as a basic salary, however, it does not reject the possibility of increase of the payment by means of commissions. Additional payment is a good stimulus for better work. Receiving a guaranteed salary, people are protected during the low seasons when there is a little work. At the same time, during the high seasons when the number of customers increases each employee may work how he/she wants as the more work is done, the higher salary will be. Thus, the employees are protected financially. They are going to get higher salaries if they work more in contrast to those who work less.

Another situation also deals with the increase of the productions in the company. Alan wants to stimulate employees by means to threaten them to dismiss replace them with new staff if they appear to be the poor performers. Such changes in the staff are predicted to take place annually. Therefore, every year the poorest employee is going to be dismissed without any actual reason, just on the basis of the statistical information. Looking at this situation critically, it may be concluded that even though an employee meets all the demands of the company during the year and gets 100% commission as a confirmation of meeting the sales target, he/she may be dismissed just because he showed the less result of sales than others. Of course, there always will be the one who will have the lowest rate of sales, but is does not necessarily means that he/she is the worst employee who needs dismiss. Paying attention to the law cases, many cases are devoted to illegal dismissal and many of them are won by the employees. Having created enormous polices and rules in the companies, many employees think that their actions are legally correct and they are able to do whatever they want. This pinion is wrong. Having analyzed the following cases, Buzolli v Food Partners Ltd (2013) and Mental Health Care (UK) Ltd v Biluan & Anor (Unfair Dismissal: Reasonableness of dismissal)(2012) are the most exemplifying cases about unfair dismissal of the employees. Both these cases deal with unfair dismissal in different reasons, however, the decision of the employment tribunal was different.

Looking at this situation from the legal perspective and after the consideration of the unfair dismissal legal cases, it may be concluded that Alan’s decision is wrong. Dismissed employees are going to be in constant stress and under pressure of the being dismissed. Actually, they have the legal guarantees, however, the absence of the desire to suit to the court will cause them increase their sales or harm other employees. The environment will be spoiled. Sales teams are going to become rivals with the desire to win. Unhealthy competition will take place. Therefore, as a result, the sales may decrease in general as it may result in reduced number of the employees. An employer may dismiss an employee if he/she failed to complete tasks or did those wrong. Buzolli v Food Partners Ltd (2013) case is exactly the law case where an employee suited to the court with the demand to consider dismissal as unfair, however, the closer consideration of the issue showed that an employee violated the not only the rules and norm of the company but the employment law. In this case the employer was right. Another case under focus is Mental Health Care (UK) Ltd v Biluan & Anor (2012). This is exactly the case which may occur in Computeright Ltd. An employee completed all the necessary norms, but an employee was dismissed. The main mistake is that the employer failed to consider previous merits of the employee. This is exactly what Alan awaits for if this specific change takes place.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that Alan’s actions are contradicting. On the one hand, the changes with the increase of the commission are legally grounded and supported, on the other hand, the second change may cause employees dissatisfaction and loss of good employees who do not want to work under constant pressure of working with the threat to be dismissed. Therefore, Alan is to reconsider the second change having thought on a more reasonable motivation for employees. Fines have never been good motivational reasons for qualified employees. Alan should pay attention to it.

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