From today all prospective claimants must follow the process set out in The Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2014 before their claim will be accepted by the Employment Tribunal. A summary of the process follows but since KLC provides an end-to-end tribunal case management service to clients, if you need advice about this new provision or assistance with a case, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Initial contact with Acas is an absolute requirement before lodging an ET1. However, both parties are perfectly within their rights to reject the offer of Early Conciliation (EC).
Note: If a worker is denied the right to accompaniment to a disciplinary or grievance hearing under s10 ERelA they may make a claim to an employment tribunal. However, as s10 ERelA does not appear on the list of ‘relevant proceedings’, EC will not be mandatory if a s10 claim is made along with other claims.
Where both parties wish to enter into EC, the Acas Conciliation Officer (CO) will have up to one calendar month from the date of receipt of the EC form to help bring about a settlement between the parties. Where, at any point during that period, the conciliator believes there is no reasonable prospect of achieving a settlement, or if discussions fail, or either party elects to withdraw from the process, the conciliator will end the process and issue a certificate.
If the CO believes that there is a reasonable prospect of settlement, but the one month time limit is due to expire, the CO may extend the conciliation period by up to 14 days with consent of both parties.
Commencement of EC will have the effect of stopping the clock ticking on the time limit within which the prospective claimant has to bring the claim.
Where EC is not successful the clock will restart on the time limit in which to bring the claim but if there is less than one month left before the claim must be lodged, the prospective claimant will be given at least one month in which to lodge the ET1. The ET will dismiss the claim if the unique EC reference number is not included on the ET1.
A prospective respondent may consider that there is a matter that might give rise to tribunal proceedings if it is not settled and may initiate the request for EC. The clock will not stop ticking unless the claimant makes their own request for EC. If the claimant rejects the offer of conciliation the case will be able to proceed as Acas will have issued a certificate.
To see the Early Conciliation Guidance, click here