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People being “priced out” of challenging employers by employment tribunal fees

20 June 2016

Citizens Advice has today said that, at their current level, employment tribunal fees are making it unaffordable for many people to challenge employers who break the law, such as by discriminating against them or withholding their wages.

The Justice Select Committee of MPs has today published a report that finds that major changes are needed to make sure people with legitimate claims can access employment tribunals.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“People are being priced out of challenging employers that dismiss them unfairly, discriminate against them or withhold wages.  

“Four in five people who we help with problems at work would be put off making a claim to an employment tribunal because of high fees. Many people would have to save for six months to afford fees of £1,200, and for some people the fees are higher than the amount they are claiming.

“The Justice Select Committee is right to highlight that at their current level employment tribunal fees put access to justice at risk. The Government should use this opportunity to consider how they can make employment tribunals a more affordable option.”

Citizens Advice helped people with 377,000 employment problems over the last year, including including 11,000 problems with non-payment of wages owed. The national charity also helped almost 2,000 people seeking advice on maternity and pregnancy discrimination between April 2015 and March 2016, a 25% increase from the previous year.

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.