3D Juggling 490: Litigation - or conversation?
Jane writes: "Are you having to find savings that mean other’s jobs might disappear? Check out these statistics. Last year the number of unfair dismissal claims accepted by employment tribunals increased by 9% to 57,400. Claims associated with redundancy pay rose by 76% to 19,000. Age discrimination claims rose by 37% to 5,200.
So how can you and your organisation minimise the risk of litigation when people have to leave even though they don’t want to? When they’re not interested in the reasons why their job has gone, just the impact this has? When they’re scared about the future and want someone to blame? Obviously you need to follow any procedures that your organisation has put in place to comply with legislation, but how can you help people to leave with a good story to tell about their experience of leaving, even if they didn’t want to go?
People are likely to be prepared to 'have a go' at making a claim because they don't have much to lose and could benefit to the tune of a few thousand pounds - even where you have followed all the correct procedures. They may be more likely to ‘have a go’ if they feel that their concerns and fears haven’t been considered, or if they feel that all the goodwill and expertise they have invested in your organisation is being treated as worthless. So make time to talk, and to listen. These are urgent and important tasks – make them a priority.
Invite conversations about reality – theirs, not yours. Hear their concerns and fears without judgement. You don’t need to take responsibility for what happens after they leave, but you should take responsibility for helping them to understand why they are leaving and what they are taking with them. Help them to recognise and accept their responses to unwelcome change, and to recognise and articulate their skills and achievements so that they can explain these to others. Thank them for whatever you can be honestly grateful for.
The number of claims accepted by employment tribunals in 2009-10 was 236,100, an increase of 56% on the previous year. This is the highest figure on record.
What do you need to do to avoid being associated with this increase?"
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Fact: Employment Tribunals are independent judicial bodies who determine disputes between employers and employees over employment rights http://www.employmenttribunals.gov.uk/. Fighting a claim may cost £5k a day (and that doesn't include figures in respect of compensation).