You should all now be aware that ACAS’ Early Conciliation Scheme has been available from 6 April 2014 and will be a required step from 6 May 2014. 

Before lodging a claim at an Employment Tribunal, a claimant will have to notify ACAS, a conciliator will make contact with both parties and seek a resolution and only when that fails, can a claim then be lodged at the Employment Tribunal.

Early conciliation will apply to most Employment Tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy claims and equal pay.

At the eleventh hour, a change has been made to the rules involving potential respondents. In the original draft, it was stated that where there is more than one potential respondent, then the claimant need name only one of the respondents on the early conciliation form. The new rule requires a claimant to lodge separate early conciliation forms for each and every respondent.

Where there are multiple respondents to a claim, it will be important to check whether early conciliation is being pursued in respect of each and every respondent.  If not, then claimants may find themselves unable to pursue claims.