The Tribunals Service has published its latest annual statistics for the period 2010/2011. The Report showed that 218,100 claims were raised in that period, which is an 8% fall from last year (but still 44% higher than 2008/2009). Again the level seems to reflect the economic climate. Light at the end of the tunnel may be evident with the number of unfair dismissal claims falling by about 16% to 47,900.

The current figures also provide a breakdown of the awards made at the Employment Tribunal. These show interesting trends with higher awards being seen in cases involving age or religious discrimination. With regard to age discrimination there were four cases where the awards exceeded £50,000 with 39% of awards exceeding £20,000. The highest award was £144,100 (up from £48,710 in 2009/2010). This may be an indication of the growth in significantly valuable claims involving older employees.

The largest sum awarded by the Tribunal in 2010/2011 was £289,167 and related to a sex discrimination claim. You will notice from the figures below that the maximum unfair dismissal award of £181,754 is in excess of the statutory cap of £68,400 but remember that this cap does not apply where the unfair dismissal is for whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety reasons. The maximum, average and median awards for unfair dismissal and discrimination claims were as follows:-

Click here to see table.

As ever Tribunals are extremely reluctant to award costs to the successful party and they were awarded in only 487 ET claims (355 of those awards being to the Respondent). This is an insignificant number compared with the 218,100 claims accepted by the Tribunal. The maximum costs award was £83,000 but the median was only £1,273, which of course is far less than the cost an employer is likely to incur in defending a claim.