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Dorset Firms Warned Over Unfair Dismissal

Dawn Gallie, Battens Solicitors

7:30am 17th April 2014

A Dorset law firm is warning bosses they now face a penalty of 5 thousand pounds if they lose a claim of unfair dismissal.

Batten's Solicitors say the new charge is on top of legal costs and any compensation the victim is awarded, which would impact heavily on smaller firms.

Dawn Gallie, Head of Employment at Battens Solicitors, said the new employers' penalty is in addition to legal costs and any compensation award payable to the successful claimant.

She said: "This could be hugely detrimental, especially to smaller businesses, and may result in the settlement of claims just to avoid this risk."

The new rules also mean that employees must involve ACAS before they submit a claim to see if a resolution can be found first.

An ACAS conciliation officer will then liaise between the employee and the employer to see if a resolution can be achieved and a tribunal claim avoided.  

Ms Gallie, a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, said: "This will give employers advance notice of impending claims and the opportunity to resolve matters more cost efficiently.  In the event a resolution cannot be reached, ACAS will issue a certificate and the employee will then be free to submit a claim in the normal way. Of course, the best advice is to try and avoid claims altogether and ensure you follow proper processes."  

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