New laws mean that employees hoping to go to an employment tribunal could have to pay up to £1,200 in fees.
The fee structure means that straightforward matters such as unpaid wages can be taken to a tribunal for £160, with a £230 hearing fee.
Higher level claims, which include sexual discrimination or whistleblowing will have a £250 charge with a £950 hearing fee.
There will be higher fees for cases with multiple claimants and a scheme for people on lower incomes.
Although unions have called the changes “a great day for bad bosses”, the government says the change is fair.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said: “It is not fair on the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal. We want people, where they can afford to do so, to pay a contribution.
“It is in everyone’s interest to avoid drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses. That’s why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation.”
The Employment Tribunals are independent judicial bodies who determine disputes between employers and employees over employment rights.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the changes could affect 150,000 workers across the UK each year.
He said: “Seeking redress for unfair dismissal and discrimination and other injustices in the workplace is a fundamental human right – but now ministers are putting up insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice.”
More information is available on the Department of Justice website.
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