Drama pupils from Derby College gave an Oscar-worthy performance as they acted out a live employment tribunal for law students.
The mock tribunal was hosted by HR & Employment law specialists Precept, who held a similar event at the University of Derby’s Law School earlier this year.
Students were given a fictional scenario; the case involved Meredith Palmer, employee of Miffin Paper Associates, who had been dismissed due to allegedly being under the influence of alcohol at work and being abusive to her boss.
Rob Tice, business owner and director at the Derby-based company, said: “It was a great event where the main decision for the tribunal judge was to decide if the dismissal was fair.
“The drama students showed off their acting skills, while the law student delegates learned how a tribunal hearing works, how the law they are learning applies in practice – something so difficult to teach via academia – how to put a case across effectively and the importance of being properly prepared.
“The students were brilliant, and the role-play format worked really well in bringing the case to life.
Precept has one of the most experienced tribunal specialists in the Midlands in Emma Tice, their Head of Employment Law and HR.
She said: “Employment tribunal hearings are at a record high and being prepared is a key factor.
“Each claim is very different and we have a great track record when it comes to successfully defending respondents; in the Mock Tribunal we share our top tips, so it is really great that the law students at Derby College have been able to access these golden nuggets of information, so that they can, hopefully, have a (successful) future career in employment law.”
Discrimination and unfair dismissal cases in the UK are on the rise, with 51% more people seeking compensation as a result of unfair dismissal in the latest figures released by the government, compared to the year before.
The maximum award was £165,000 and the average was £13,541 with the highest fee paid out in a race discrimination case being £228,117.
Emma added: “With employment tribunal hearings at a record level, it is important that leaders and HR professionals know how to handle a case and, more importantly, how the decisions you make in the workplace play out in a tribunal hearing.”
Emma also noted the proposed changes across the UK that (if implemented) will affect every business; the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill.
The Bill – labelled ‘essential’ by women’s groups and trade unions – would do two main things: to introduce a legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work, and to reintroduce the concept of third-party harassment in the workplace, whereby staff are protected from harassment from customers and clients.
Although the Bill has recently come under some serious scrutiny from some MPs – Emma feels that, given statistics from the TUC, Fawcett Society and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, harassment in the workplace is at an all-time high.
She said: “There are some scary stats about the levels of workplace harassment, including that sexual harassment is “endemic” in the workplace.
“Somewhere around half of working women will experience workplace harassment and that is even higher for LGBTQIA+, disabled and black women. However, any statistics that we do have don’t show the full picture because an estimated 79% do not report their experience, which is scary stuff.”
The reforms contained within the Bill would mean employers would have to take preventative measures to protect workers, rather than just waiting for an incident to occur and then dealing with it. Potentially meaning employers have to take more proactive steps in this regard – hence why leaders and HR bods need to be aware of these changes.
This, and further changes on employment law and managing performance and health & wellbeing, plus potential discrimination issues, will be covered during a free HR Forum event that Precept are working on, in collaboration with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
Organised by the East Midlands Chamber, the event will take place at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Matlock headquarters on Tuesday, May 23 (9am).
Emma added: “Myself and Associate Robyn Smith will lead the conversation in our no-nonsense way, updating everyone on what’s going on in the world of employment law and also providing an insight into health and wellbeing from a managing performance angle.”