Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge today demanded that the Government act to help women who have been discriminated against during pregnancy but denied justice because of the Government’s unlawful imposition of industrial tribunal fees.
Speaking in the Commons today, he pressed Justice Minister Dominic Raab on what is being done to ensure that women who were unable to pursue pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims due to the cost of employment tribunal fees, are now able to bring forward their cases.
Daniel said, “The government’s own research into maternity-related discrimination, shows that 1 in 9 mothers report that they were either dismissed, made redundant or treated so badly that they have to leave their jobs. Following the Supreme Court case brought by UNISON, the union I used to work for, what specific action is the government taking to identify those who could have brought claims, but didn’t, because the government acted unlawfully?”
Raab replied, “We are putting in place the detailed arrangements to make sure that those who paid fees are refunded. We will be announcing the practical details… and as I indicated a moment ago, those that couldn’t apply to the tribunal because of the fees, will now have that opportunity to do so.”
Employment tribunal fees were introduced by the Coalition Government in 2013, prior to this, claimants were not required to pay fees to bring their claims. The introduction of fees coincided with a steep decline in the number of cases received by the tribunal, within the region of 67%.
On the 26th July this year, the Supreme Court ruled that Employment Tribunal Fees were unlawful, finding that the fees ran contrary to the principles of access to justice. This case was brought by UNISON.
Daniel says, “The government clearly has not real wish to help women who have been discriminated against, shown by their lack of a clear, proactive plan to specifically help those who were unable to seek justice due to financial costs. This is another case of the government making it difficult and complicated for ordinary people to access their basic rights.”
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