Ken Clarke, as Justice Minister, is doing everything he can to encourage Claimants to represent themselves at Tribunal. He’s harking back to the origin purpose of Tribunals; a place to represent yourself, or get a Union Rep to help. And, naturally, he believes that hundreds of millions of pounds would be saved.
Okay, so it takes money to lodge a claim and find representation. But if you’re taking a stand against your employer because of workplace bullying it is usually impossible to represent yourself and win. The law on workplace bullying is hellishly complicated. The timescales are tricky.
Many people think they’ll be okay gambling on common sense, but common sense, when it comes to accusing your employer of workplace bullying in the Employment Tribunal, counts for nothing. The bullying has to be on proven protected grounds, such as race, sex, disability etc. And your claim must be lodged within the strict time limits.
So time and again I hear lawyers coming back from Tribunal telling tales of Claimants who turned up alone and argued all the wrong points, even arguing themselves out of a claim they might have won. I hear stories of Judges rolling their eyes and trying their best to point a Claimant in the right direction, or drop massive hints, to no avail.
I can’t help wondering how different the statistics might be if people actually knew the law before they represented themselves. I have a feeling the success rates for employees would head skyward.
So just because you have the balls to represent yourself – doesn’t mean you should. Team up that courage with strong representation – and you’re getting somewhere.
Ken Clarke’s idea makes me question his role as Justice Secretary. Isn’t encouraging employees to represent themselves in Court going to pre-determine the result in most cases? Especially when your employer will always have their lawyers/barristers in tow?
It smacks of a Judicial match fix.
I say don’t make it too easy for them!
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."