Make Notes

Online employment tribunal judgments - a step too far?

17
Mar

Employment Tribunal Judgments are now available to view online following the recent launch of an online database. 

At first sight, this development appears fairly innocuous – after all, the decisions of Employment Tribunals have always been public documents, and rightly so.  However, the publication of Judgments in an online database means that the information contained in these decisions will now be readily available in the public domain.  As a practice which regularly represents both employers and employees, we have a number of concerns, chief among them:

  • Employers will be able to search the database to see if a prospective employee has any history of pursuing claims against previous employers.  If so, the employee may find that s/he has unwittingly placed themselves on a “blacklist”;
  • Conversely, there is a danger that an unfortunate employer, who has been on the wrong end of several Tribunal Judgments, may have its reputation tarnished and therefore find it difficult to recruit in the future;
  • Any criticism by a Judge in his decision, for example in relation to the honesty of a witness, will be permanently recorded for anyone to find and this record of dishonesty would be revealed in the event of any person carrying out a search of their name;
  • There is now a greater risk of prominent and adverse publicity.  Until now, if the press wished to report on proceedings, they had to attend the Tribunal in person and take notes.  Consequently, the majority of cases went unreported.  With information relating to all proceedings now conveniently stored online, we will no doubt see an increase in reporting on more “eye catching” cases.

For further information in relation to the above, or any employment law matter, contact Jonathan Moreland on 0191 3842441 or jmm@swinburnemaddison.co.uk.

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