A new government Equality Direct Service will advise employers on issues such as equal pay and equality for disabled workers.

0845 600 3444. www.equalitydirect.org.uk

Employment claims are booming. More than 100,000 applications were filed with tribunals in 1999-2000. But it is rare for one side to be told to pay the other side's costs in an employment tribunal: costs were awarded against the unsuccessful party in only 407 cases. From some time next year there will be a new power to award costs of up to£10,000 for frivolous or vexatious conduct, and tribunals will have a power to strike out claims which have no real prospect of success.