Member organisation and employment law specialists, the Forum of Private Business are using the case of Dr Eva Caneiro to highlight one of the biggest issues of the Employment tribunal system – the length of time it takes for a company to resolve an issue.

Dr Eva Caneiro left Chelsea Football club in September 2015 following an altercation with the club’s then manager, Jose Mourinho in August. Chelsea filed their defence in the tribunal hearing in December and another private preliminary hearing was held in January. The case is being heard in the closed season, protecting the interests of the employer.

Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum points out, “The ten days alone allocated to hear the tribunal would have a massive impact on a smaller company, particularly as it is unlikely it would have been heard at a convenient time as has happened in this instance."

"However, whatever the size of company, it is still a very stressful experience and the timing of the case will not do anything for the reputation of the company or their former manager.”

Average clearance times for employment tribunals have dropped significantly in recent years, but they still remain too long. Single claim times are running on average at 29 weeks whilst multiple cases extend to 196 weeks, both lower in 2015 than the previous year. However, the Forum would like to bring this down even further with a target of 3 months for single cases and multiple cases slashed to a year.

“The fact is that it still takes too long for companies to have these issues resolved. There is already a deterrent for businesses in terms of the fines that can be levied and that the complexity of law only makes it more likely that the best solution is to pay for the individual off,” argues Ian.

“Some organisations will scare the living daylights out of you about employment tribunals but it is important to remember that good communication with clear contracts and letting all staff understand what is expected of them is important. Businesses need to act swiftly to nip any problems in the bud rather than let them linger, and treat all staff fairly.”