Treating staff fairly and in accordance with the law is always the best way to avoid a claim. However, there may be times where employers and employees do not see eye-to-eye – even where you have acted fairly throughout – and this could lead to an employment claim. Bearing this in mind, it is worth understanding a significant change coming next month, involving ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and mandatory early conciliation.
After 6th April 2014, all potential Claimants thinking about bringing an employment tribunal claim must first refer the dispute to ACAS, who will act as conciliators to try and settle the matter and avoid the need for litigation.
The conciliation period will last for a month, and will have the effect of extending the short tribunal deadline by the same period. So, whereas currently most claims must be brought within three months’ of the date of the act complained of, the process of mandatory conciliation will extend this period to four months.
ACAS’ service is free, and if a settlement cannot be agreed, Claimants are still able to pursue their complaint in the employment tribunal.
For more information, including an early conciliation Q&A, you can visit www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4028.