Employment tribunals are always a last resort and there are several processes that can be completed to resolve workplace disputes before it has to reach the stage of a tribunal.
For example, early conciliation is a process that can be used to resolve workplace disputes and grievances, without having to resort to an employment tribunal which can be a stressful and drawn out process.
It is also a mandatory requirement to go through the ACAS Early Conciliation process before filing a claim in the Employment Tribunal and this has been in place since May 2014!
We’ve created a guide outlining everything that you need to know about early conciliation.
Why would an employer resort to early conciliation?
There are many different types of workplace disputes that leave both employers and employees with no other option but to resolve the dispute by going through ACAS Early Conciliation. These include redundancy, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
How do you begin the process of Early Conciliation?
Starting the process of Early Conciliation is relatively simple and you can begin the process by contacting ACAS and filling out a form online. However, it is crucial that this form is completed within the relevant timeframe, as there are mandatory time windows outlining when you can pursue a legal claim.
In the vast majority of cases and as a general rule of thumb, you should take into account that you have three months from the date of the act you are complaining about to file a claim in the Employment Tribunal. And remember, if your claim involves an individual as well as an organisation, you will have to fill out separate forms for both.
So, what happens next?
You will not be able to pursue your case without filling out those forms and once completed, you should receive an automated acknowledgement from the ACAS. The ACAS will then get to work checking that the information you have provided is correct and in the right format.
The conciliation process will also be explained at this stage, as well as the role of the conciliator who will act as the go-between until the case has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
Having a middleman takes the emotion out of the situation and prevents emotionally charged situations. The main purpose of the conciliator is to help both parties work towards finding some common ground and reaching a resolution.
If an agreement can be made and both parties reach a compromise, an agreement setting out the terms of settlement called a COT3 must be signed and filed. This is a legally binding agreement in which normally the employer agrees to pay the employee a compensation sum.
What happens if an agreement cannot be reached?
If an agreement cannot be made, a claim can then be submitted to pursue the issue at an employment tribunal, although in the vast majority of cases, claims are resolved at the early conciliation stage.
If you require HR support in the workplace, contact Oculus HR today.