Employment tribunal claims rise by a third

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The Independent Online

The level of complaints by employees about low wages and discrimination has risen sharply.

The level of complaints by employees about low wages and discrimination has risen sharply.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) stated in its annual report that its staff handled a record 164,000 complaints in the past financial year, up by 32 per cent from the previous year.

Acas said that figure, which included rises of more than 20 per cent in unfair dismissal and racial discrimination cases, highlighted the "biggest ever" shift towards individual rights cases in its 25-year history. It comes after the introduction of European Union-inspired legislation on the minimum wage, holidays, working hours, union recognition and employment rights. Acas said it solved 75 per cent of cases before they reached tribunal hearings.

Rita Donaghy, chairwoman of Acas, said the rise suggested people were becoming much more self-confident about protecting their rights.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said ministers should consider tougher rules to filter out weak or vexatious cases, and powers for tribunals to award costs against losing applications.

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