Conciliation Required before a Tribunal Claim
New legislation – The Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2014 & The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – will require employees to contact ACAS in advance of bringing an employment tribunal claim.
Without a certificate issued by ACAS that a settlement is not possible, or the prescribed period (up to one calendar month, although this may be extended for up to 14 days) expires without a settlement, relevant tribunal claims will be rejected.
Potential claimants won’t have any obligation to engage meaningfully with the conciliation process – they could make the initial contact with ACAS, and then sit it out until the certificate is issued – but in practice conciliation can resolve many cases without the need for a hearing, so engagement is to be expected.
Time limits for a claim to be lodged with the employment tribunals are being increased for the length of time the Early Conciliation Process is continuing. This should normally be no more than one month, although it can be extended by fourteen days, and may be less where ACAS deem a settlement is not achievable, and issue the certificate sooner.
Employers will certainly benefit from this change (subject only to the claimant consenting to ACAS contacting them), not least getting earlier notification of a possible tribunal claim, the basis of this, the sort of settlement the claimant is seeking, and also the opportunity to engage in conciliation without the cost, in terms of time & money, of filing an ET3 response form. Nonetheless, employers contacted by ACAS regarding an Early Conciliation Claim will still also benefit from having the merits of any potential claim considered before making an offer of settlement, so if ACAS contact you, before making any settlement offer contact us and we’ll discuss your options with you. Fill out the form below (or see the contact us page for more options), and we’ll ensure the Conciliation Process isn’t delayed while you take professional advice on the options available to you.