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Workplace Disputes- “Early Conciliation” and Mandatory Consultation

 

Employees who want to make a Tribunal claim will soon have no choice but to consult with their employers.

New rules proposed by the Government will prevent all claims – whether for discrimination, unfair dismissal, or even a simple failure to pay wages – from going ahead unless the employee has at least attempted to resolve matters through discussion.

ACAS, an independent body funded through the Government, will act as the go-between, and establish if both parties are willing and able to meet or correspond to try to resolve all outstanding issues. 

As part of a cost-cutting drive, the Government want to see more use being made of ACAS, and less time being spent in hearing claims at the Employment Tribunal.

Employment lawyers, including The Glasgow Law Practice, were invited to the Scottish Government’s offices in Glasgow on 18th March 2012 to hear details of how the new process will operate when it becomes mandatory in April 2014.

ACAS Scotland Director Frank Blair explained that all claims will have to be directed to ACAS, rather than at present, to the Employment Tribunal service. Instead of an “ET1” claim form, employers will have to complete a much simpler form.

However, they will still have to do so before the legal “timebar” – usually three months from the thing being complained about – runs out. The employer will then be consulted, and the case will not be allowed to be heard by the Tribunal for at least a month, to allow time to respond.

While the employee will have to involve ACAS, the employer will not be under any duty to co-operate, and the employee equally will not have to accept any offers made to them. Once the month has passed, the Tribunal claim will be allowed to go ahead with the ET1 being lodged at that stage. 

The “early conciliation” scheme is designed as an extension of a service ACAS currently provides which was used in 8500 cases over the last financial year, and which resulted in more than 70% of these being resolved without the need for Tribunal hearings, usually through compensation being paid.

*The Glasgow Law Practice is experienced in acting for both employees and employers in matters which come before the Employment Tribunal. We will consult with you without any fee or obligation to find out if we can take on your case. call us on 0141 552 9193 oe complete our online enquiry form.