The figures for Employment Tribunal Claims for 2010 – 2011 have now been released, which although it is good news that the overall number of claims has reduced by 8% from the previous year, with 218,100 claims being raised, there has however been a 30% increase in the number of Age Discrimination claims.
It could be argued that the increase has been brought about by the changes in legislation which have removed the right for an employer to enforce an employee to retire at what was the normal retirement age of 65. Regardless of the reason it is a concern to see this quite dramatic increase, with the number of claims for age discrimination reaching 6,800.
This increase in age discrimination claims has firmly put this category high in the ranking of spotlight of discrimination as it is now the third highest type of discrimination claim. The significantly highest category remains at sex discrimination, followed by disability and now closely followed by age discrimination. Claims for race discrimination have seen a decline thereby ranking it fourth in the number of discrimination claims.
Historic trends would indicate that with the change to the qualifying service for unfair dismissal increasing in April 2012 to two years, that the number of Tribunal claims will show a decrease at the next annual survey, however it must be remembered that there is no qualifying service for claims of any form of discrimination.
Discrimination claims are notorious for being difficult for employers to defend as the onus is very much on the employer having to disprove discrimination has taken place. It can be an extremely time consuming and litigious process to defend a discrimination claim, often with third party involvement backing employees claims.