Tribunals on the increase

Employment tribunals are becoming a key growth area for PR agencies as a result of the looming recession and resultant redundancies.

The number of tribunals rose by 44 per cent in 2007/08 and there was an increase of 15 per cent in the previous year, according to Employment Tribunals Service figures.

Those numbers are expected to continue rising as redundancies and other employment issues such as sex, race and religious discrimination come to the fore in 2009.

FD MD Jonathan Hawker, who frequently represents employers in litigation cases, said: 'In my view 2009 will be the year of the tribunal, when companies will face a further substantial increase in reputational exposure through employment tribunals, which are increasingly attended by the media.'

Joanna Blackburn, head of the employment group at law firm Mishcon de Reya, said that enquiries from employees considering legal action were on the increase.

Her company regularly recommends PR agencies FD, Maitland, Bell Yard and Phil Hall Associates to clients in tribunals. 'We advise clients that they have to have PR,' said Blackburn.

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