With Tribunal claims rising to a record figure in excess 236,000 last year, a rise of 56% on 2008/2009 figures. Most businesses had to spend an average £4,000 to defend a claim. Added to this cost are the average compensatory awards in the region of £9,120. There has been widespread discussions about the government proposals to increase the unfair dismissal qualifying period to 2 years and to impose a nominal fee for employees who wish to purse a claim. These measures are being suggested in the hope to reduce the amount of misconceived claims being pursued, those with a limited chance of success. (and now comes the small print) What has not been so widely publicised are the proposals to fine businesses who deliberately flout their responsibilities as an employer. Consideration is being given to fines from £100 up to £5,000 be levied on top of any compensation awarded to an individual. This fine will go to the Exchequer, and not to the claimant. It is hoped that by increasing the penalties that this will motivate employers to keep themselves out of the heavily burdened tribunal system. Some of the more sceptical amongst us will see this as another money making excersize, others will applaud the proactive thinking to help reform the less scrupulous employes, others will think that these measures do not go far enough Whatever your views, it is obvious that changes are coming, and it is adviseable to ensure that all your employment practises and policies are "fit for purpose" in order to ensure that you can easily prove that you have complied with the law.