The valuable role which ACAS play once an Employment Tribunal claim is raised is reasonably well known. What is less well known is that ACAS are willing to become involved in certain matters even though a Tribunal claim has not yet been raised.
The aim of the ACAS Pre-Claim Conciliation Service, according to the Acas website, is to “help employers and employees to find a solution that is acceptable to both, and avoid the costs, stress and time associated with an employment tribunal”.
Essentially, ACAS can assist with any type of claim that could potentially end up at an Employment Tribunal. The ACAS website identifies examples of the type of workplace issue that the Service advises upon which includes:-
- unfair dismissal
- all forms of workplace discrimination
- redundancy payments or selection procedures
- deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay
- rights to time off or flexible working
- equal pay
By using the Service, employees and employers may be able to come to a negotiated agreement, without having to resort to Tribunal proceedings. Trade unions, voluntary organisations and even employment lawyers can use the Service.
If negotiations are successful, the conciliator will offer to help to draw up a written agreement. If not, parties are still entitled to take matters to an Employment Tribunal.
Of course, I recommend that you obtain legal advice if you are considering or are involved in Employment Tribunal proceedings. However, this helpline may be useful for those situations where the matter can be nipped in the bud at an early stage.
The service which is confidential can be accessed via the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47.