Two employers have been accused of racial discrimination in cases due to go to Employment Tribunal hearings this year.
New anti-discrimination legislation came into force in September, and three complaints have been made in the first six months of the law being in force, although one has already been struck out.
The tribunal has warned in its annual report that as other forms of discrimination are included in the legislation on areas such as age, gender and sexuality, they expect their workload to go up dramatically.
The report also stated that last year saw their work dominated by complaints alleging unfair dismissal – 13 compensation awards were ordered in 2014, and the majority of claims that went to a full hearing were decided in favour of the claimant.
In four cases, the amount of compensation awarded was reduced on appeal.
Employment Tribunal Chairman Nicola Santos-Costa said: “Not as many complaints under the Discrimination Law have been received as originally envisaged but it is anticipated that this aspect of the Tribunal’s work will increase exponentially as the number of Protected Characteristics under the Discrimination Law increase and also the accessibility of rights under this Law becomes commonplace.”
Last year saw a total of 173 complaints to the tribunal, a small drop on the 204 received in 2013. But the number of complaints that went to a full hearing was much higher at 66 – the second-highest since the tribunal was established in 2005.
Figures also show that the complaints came from a wide range of occupations including: wholesale and retail 17%); hotels, restaurants and bars (15%); financial services (11%) and the public sector (10%).
The complainants themselves were from a range of backgrounds, including: skilled trades (30%), elementary occupations (16%), sales and customer service (13%); professionals (12%) and managers and senior officials (5%).
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