Employee litigation 'biggest business risk'

Businesses in Belfast and Northern Ireland could find that their biggest risk of financial loss may come if an employee contacts their solicitors following poor treatment, experts say.

According to Hiscox, businesses in Belfast and Northern Ireland may be unaware that one of the most costly things that could happen to them is if their workers contact solicitors to complain about conditions.

The annual Hiscox Risk Barometer shows that 62 per cent of businesses in Britain and Northern Ireland are not insuring themselves in the event that they end up facing solicitors called in by their workers.

Despite this, one third of businesses in Britain and Northern Ireland confess they are worried that an employee could contact their solicitors to claim for compensation of some sort.

Gary Head, director of business insurance at Hiscox UK, was quoted by Workplace Law as saying: "Most bosses will have considered what to do if their office burns down, but the fact is they are more likely to be sued by one of their employees.

"Although smaller businesses tend to have more of a 'family atmosphere', employee litigation remains a risk so it's concerning that employment practices insurance is pretty low down their list of priorities."

"By failing to take out appropriate cover they're leaving themselves hugely exposed to lengthy and expensive legal action and significant reputational damage," he added.

Solicitors will know that the number of employment tribunals in Belfast and Northern Ireland increased last year, with the most claims linked to unfair dismissal and unequal pay.

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