Employment Tribunal decisions are now digital

A new webpage publishing employment tribunal decisions has been launched on the gov.uk website on the 9th February. This allows the public to search for first-instance judgments from England, Wales and Scotland for the first time. The online database will provide the public with a selection of decisions from 2015 onwards, and was introduced to help facilitate open justice. Whilst ET decisions have always been publicly available, they have until now only been available by an individual personally searching a register at the ET office or by writing to that office.

This greater transparency will mean both employees and the press will more readily be able to access previous decisions made for and against a business. ET decisions also tend to contain more factual details relating to a business, its processes and procedures. It is advisable that employers factor this new level of transparency and possible damage to commercial reputation when considering any litigation with employees.

Employers will additionally need to take care in recruitment that any decision to reject a candidate is not influenced by any findings which come to light via this new database, for example, if it shows that the candidate has previously issued discrimination proceedings against a former employer. Such conduct could give rise to a victimisation claim.  A practical approach might be to impose a ban on any candidates being vetted via the database.

Dominic Bonham