More people are looking to the Employment Tribunal for recourse
to resolve disputes arising from their employment.
194 applications were received by the tribunal between 1 July
2010 and 30 June 2011, resulting in an increase of 15% from last
Tribunal chairman David Le Quesne believes this increase is due
to the ongoing difficult economic climate, which is placing
pressure on employers to reduce costs and on employees to retain
their jobs. There can be little doubt that the current economic
climate is stress-testing the most resilient of trades and
businesses, and that the fall out is likely to cause an additional
number of employment-related claims, but is this the only reason
for the increase?
Another reason may be the evolution of the tribunal and the law
it applies. The tribunal is seen as a more comprehensive forum for
dealing with employment disputes and its ascension is considered to
be very much in tandem with the brisk development of Jersey
employment law. For example, the law was amended significantly in
2011 to move with the times and address the issues surrounding the
well publicised increase in redundancy situations. It now helpfully
sets out an employee's entitlement to a redundancy payment,
provides for paid time off to seek, or arrange training for, future
employment and provides a means of enforcement for these
The tribunal's powers in relation to unfair dismissal awards
have also been amended so it has the power to reduce the
compensation potentially payable to an employee if that employee
has contributed in some way to his or her dismissal. The tribunal
also has the discretion to order the re-employment of an unfairly
dismissed individual instead of ordering a financial award when it
is just and equitable to do so.
The next big step for Jersey employment law and the tribunal is
considered to be the implementation of anti-discrimination
provisions. The Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service (JACS) has
said that it deals with about 350 cases related to discrimination
issues each year, for which there is currently no recourse. It is
anticipated that anti-discrimination laws will be in force by the
end of 2012.
There are also improvements behind the scenes. The
tribunal's administration moved from the Department of
Employment and Social Security to the Judicial Greffier (who
provides administrative and secretarial assistance to the courts in
the Island) and this is expected to greatly assist the day-to-day
running of the tribunal. A working group was recently established
to review how the tribunal operates and report its findings to the
chairman and the Minister for Social Security. The tribunal's
website is also currently being reviewed, and work is progressing
on transferring the tribunal judgments onto the Jersey Legal
Information Board website, making the tribunal decisions more
The tribunal is becoming an increasingly important consideration
for both employers and employees. The dynamic nature of employment
law in the Island means that both groups are well advised to seek
specialist legal advice when confronted with an employment issue
for practical guidance and to ensure they understand the latest
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Ministry of Human Resources has recently issued a string of new ministerial resolutions and decrees designed to address gaps in the employment regulatory framework and reinforce existing legislation...
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