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Serial litigant warning for UK employers

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As major newspapers reveal the name of a serial discrimination litigant who challenged more than 60 employers, bosses have been told not to pander to such “vexatious” claims.

Firms advertising jobs with the phrases “school leaver” or “graduate” are apparently being targeted by elderly litigants, adept at abusing the government’s online tribunal service website to lodge flimsy claims.

These were the tactics used by 54-year-old John Berry who was ousted by the Sunday Times recently after making discrimination claims against 60 firms over three years, despite no intention to apply for the jobs they advertised.

Mr Berry would lodge claims against recruitment agencies and employers through the online service, often filing the claims with distant tribunals so firms would settle rather than travel for miles to challenge his accusations.

According to the Times, Berry’s claims are consistently struck out by tribunal chairmen as “misconceived” and “vexatious” but businesses can still be left with legal bills of about £9,000 because he ignores orders to pay costs.

Websites have been set-up revealing the identities of serial litigants, such as Mr Berry, but have been condemned by MPs for undermining the legal rights of legitimate claimants and, according to a signed petition: “run contrary to the government’s progress on dealing with the victimisation of trade union members.”

But Mr Berry’s abuse of the online tribunal service has highlighted failings in the process, often criticised by employment lawyers for lacking credible evidence checks, and bosses have been told to challenge such fabricated claims.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 22, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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