Employment alert email
The Government recently published the Early Conciliation Rules of Procedure. Potential Claimants must generally go through ACAS to try to settle their claim before filing their ET1.
From 6 April 2014 the procedure for bringing a Tribunal claim will be:
* Prospective Claimant fills out an ACAS form providing their name & address and the prospective Respondent's name & address (or they telephone ACAS who complete the form).
* ACAS contacts the prospective Claimant and if he/she agrees, ACAS will try to contact the prospective Respondent.
* ACAS will spend up to a month trying to settle the claim (extendable by 14 days if both parties agree and ACAS thinks there is a reasonable prospect of settlement).
* If settlement is not reached (or ACAS can't reach the Respondent) ACAS will issue an early conciliation statement to the prospective Claimant (and Respondent if contact has been made).
* The prospective Claimant must have an early conciliation statement to launch an ET1 claim (except for certain exempt claims e.g. unfair dismissal in combination with an injunction, or class actions).
Tips for employers:
* Make sure your mailroom/reception know to pass any calls/correspondence from ACAS to the appropriate person in e.g. HR/Legal.
* Plan your negotiation strategy carefully before dealing with ACAS.
* Speak to us about the dispute at an early stage.
* If used appropriately this could help resolve cases, however the fact that Claimants don't have to engage in the process in good faith leaves it open to abuse. The main benefit to Claimants is to extend the time to lodge a claim e.g. they could delay issuing a claim by up to four months post termination.