The government must tackle the ‘claim first, think later’ culture that is making employment tribunals slow and costly for employers, a report has urged.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report Settling the Matter claims that there has been a 173% rise over the last five years in the number of claims coming before employment tribunals, and the backlog of 450,000 claims is ‘rapidly’ growing.

It calls on the government to introduce measures to ensure that claims have merit, and that claimants know what the likely outcome of a successful claim would be.

The report suggests that many claimants have unrealistic expectations of how much money they may be awarded.

It adds that CBI members support the reform of conditional fee arrangements to discourage employees and their advisers from submitting ‘claim first, think later’ cases that have no merit.

The report adds that tribunals should do more to tackle weak and vexatious cases, and be challenged when they fail to do so.

Mutually acceptable settlements at an early stage benefit employers and employees and should be encouraged at every stage, the report says.

It recommends devising a simple ‘offers to settle’ system that would help companies and claimants reach agreement.

The report also calls for a review of the tribunal system so that it becomes more efficient.

This week the TUC has claimed that government reform of tribunals will discriminate against ethnic minority groups.