What has to be done before going to a Employment Tribunal – Mandatory Conciliation Employment Law Change
March 10, 2014
Marsons Solicitors have specialist employment law solicitors to represent employers in employment tribunals.
In the summer of 2013 the government introduced new regulations and procedures for Employment Tribunals.
As part of its plans to make the tribunal system more efficient, the government is imposing a duty on the parties and ACAS to attempt early conciliation of employment disputes before starting a tribunal claim. The start date is 6th May 2013 but the scheme is available on a voluntary basis from 6th April 2014
The new procedure is :
The prospective claimant must send information to ACAS by completing a prescribed form.
ACAS makes contact with the claimant, confirms that they want to proceed, and sends the claimant’s information to a conciliation officer.
The conciliation officer must try to promote a settlement within a certain period of time.
If a settlement is not reached, either because the conciliation officer considers that a settlement is not possible, or because the prescribed period expires, the conciliation officer must issue a certificate to that effect. The prospective claimant cannot pursue most tribunal claims without this certificate.
What does this mean for employers? Our view as employment law solicitors is
- At present it is possible that the first you know of a claim against you is when the claim form lands on your desk. Under these proposals it is envisaged that in the majority of cases there will be an opportunity to attempt to resolve matters without the need for tribunal proceedings.
- Where you have recently dismissed an employee or are in dispute with an employee, the temptation is to “sit tight” and wait and see if a claim is made. The early conciliation regime will mean that in many cases you will need to take a view much earlier on as to whether, and by what means, you are prepared to negotiate a solution outside any tribunal proceedings.
- It should be remembered that since mid-2013 employees must pay a fee to start a tribunal claim. Early conciliation may offer an opportunity to save money as employees may be more willing to resolve matters to avoid having to pay the fee.
Only time will tell exactly how the new scheme will operate. Indeed, ACAS says that the precise arrangements for the new service will be a “work in progress…”
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.