From 6th April 2014, Employment Tribunal claimants are now obliged in all but a few type of cases to commence an obligatory conciliation process via the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) before a claim is issued.
This is now a formal process whereby claimants will have to include a special reference number of any claim form to demonstrate that such pre-claim conciliation has been attempted.
YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PROCEED WITH A TRIBUNAL CLAIM UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE NECESSARY FORM AND SENT IT TO ACAS.
However, there is no compulsion on claimants to actually engage meaningfully in a conciliation process, only to follow this process so that a Early Conciliation reference can be obtained.
Once it becomes clear that conciliation is not possible or not desired by either the claimant or the respondent then ACAS issue the appropriate reference number.
The form to commence this Early Conciliation (?EC?) Process can be submitted on-line here or by post.
Where both parties wish to explore conciliation, the conciliator has a ?prescribed period? of one calendar month from the date ACAS receives the prospective claimant?s completed EC form within which to try and promote settlement of the claim. With the agreement of the parties, ACAS may extend the conciliation period by up to two weeks where the conciliator believes that there is a reasonable prospect of achieving a settlement within that period.
Mandatory EC will cover ?relevant proceedings? which are the claims in which ACAS is currently empowered to conciliate. These include claims for unfair dismissal, certain rights in relation to families and pregnancy, redundancy, transfers and insolvency, discrimination and equal pay, trade unions and collective issues, time off work, the Working Time Regulations 1998, wages, contracts of employment, atypical working and certain other miscellaneous statutory rights.
IF YOU ARE A CLAIMANT OR RESPONDENT IN A CURRENT OR POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL MATTER THEN CONTACT US NOW FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION?& ADVICE ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER MATTER.