Sound advice to employees

Current or former employees of Kingston University who are bringing, or considering bringing a case against it before the employment tribunal, should be aware of the following: KU’s strategy is always to refuse to settle a claim until the very eve of the final hearing, which is likely to be over a year after the claim is originally filed. This is because the university calculates that most claimants – even those with strong claims – will lose their nerve and abandon their claims long before the final hearing, as the commitment in time and effort increases and the legal bills begin to mount. However, KU is also extremely afraid of bad publicity, so even if a claimant’s claim is not very strong, they will likely be offered some sort of settlement on the eve of the final hearing; one that will, at the very least, cover their legal expenses to date.

This means that if, for example, your claim has a 60% chance of winning – which is the highest a careful solicitor is likely to give even a strong claim – KU will bluff and refuse all settlement offers until the eleventh hour. On the other hand, even if your claim has only a 40% chance of winning, or even less, KU will probably still offer you a settlement at the eleventh hour, just before the final hearing; at least in the region of £10,000-£15,000 (which is what pursuing your claim will probably have cost you by then). So you can be reasonably sure you can, at the very least, break even, provided your claim has at least some merit to it. The important thing is, once you file your claim, not to lose your nerve.

The university’s finances being as unhealthy as they are, it is finding it increasingly difficult to afford to contest multiple employment tribunal claims. So even if you settle your claim with the university in the end, you will have left it tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket, which will weaken its future ability to victimise staff members.

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