Currently, a person who thinks they might have a discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010 may submit written questions to the potential respondent to their claim (e.g. their employer).
However, from 6 April 2014, the current use of discrimination questionnaires will be abolished. ACAS has published good practice guidance as to how employers should deal with questions regarding discrimination in the workplace following the abolition. The guidance can be found here.
Financial penalties for employers
In cases presented after 6 April 2014, the Tribunal will have powers to order a losing employer to pay a financial penalty in specified circumstances. The Tribunal will be able to order the employer to pay a financial penalty of up to £5,000 to the Secretary of State where the breach has one or more "aggravating features".
From 6 April 2014, claimants will be able to contact ACAS before a Tribunal claim is submitted, in an attempt to promote settlement of the case. From 6 May 2014, this will be required before a claim can be made in the Employment Tribunal. The time limit for bringing the claim to the Employment Tribunal will be put on hold while early conciliation is attempted.
Changes to payment rates
Employment law will also see changes to many statutory payment rates as of 6 April 2014 including changes to the maximum compensation award for unfair dismissals, the maximum statutory redundancy payment available to employees and statutory sick and maternity pay.
Click here to view details of the changes.
Click here to download our new Employment Law Calendar 2014.