If you are considering lodging a claim at the Employment Tribunal, the first stage is to submit your claims through ACAS Early Conciliation. Please read on for more information on the crucial first stage of the Employment Tribunal process.
What is ACAS Early Conciliation?
ACAS Early Conciliation is the first step in the process of lodging an employment claim at the Employment Tribunal.
It is a free of charge service which is available to all employees to use.
The purpose of ACAS Early Conciliation is to try and facilitate a settlement between the parties without the need of the matter progressing to the Employment Tribunal
Must I Go Through Early Conciliation?
In short, yes.
ACAS Early Conciliation is a mandatory process that all potential claimants must undertake before they can lodge a claim at the Employment Tribunal.
In order to submit a claim form at the Employment Tribunal you need a reference number called a Conciliation Certificate Number. That reference number will only be provided to you once you have conducted ACAS Early Conciliation.
What is the Process?
You will need to register your complaint online with ACAS. To register you must provide your details, your employers details, and a brief overview of your claims.
It is very important that you ensure your employers details are correctly registered. Always check your contract of employment, wage slips and Companies House to ensure you are registering the correct employer.
Once you have registered your complaint, you will be appointed an ACAS Conciliator. Their job is to act as an impartial third party and to try and reach a settlement between the parties.
The ACAS Conciliator will contact your employer to establish if they want to engage in ACAS Early Conciliation. Your employer can refuse to engage in the process if they do not want to negotiate a Settlement.
The ACAS Early Conciliation process can last up to 6 weeks. If the parties can achieve a settlement during this time, then the Conciliator will prepare a COT3 document. This is a legally binding document which sets out of the terms of the settlement.
What Happens If My Claim Can’t Be Settled?
If your claim cannot be settled during ACAS Early Conciliation, the Conciliator would issue the Early Conciliation Certificate. You would then have one month from the date of that Certificate to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal quoting the certificate number on your Claim Form.
It is very important to remember that you must commence ACAS Early Conciliation within three months less one day from your dismissal / last act of discrimination or incident complained of.
- If you were dismissed on 20 January 2023, you must start ACAS Early Conciliation by 19 April 2023
- If the last act of discrimination you suffered was on the 05 December 2022, you must start ACAS Early Conciliation by 04 March 2023.
- If you suffered an unlawful deduction of wages on 31 December 2022, you must start ACAS Early Conciliation by 30 March 2023
These deadlines are strictly adhered to by the Employment Tribunal. If you do not start ACAS Early Conciliation within this three-month window your claim will be deemed out of time, and you will not be entitled to progress to the Employment Tribunal (subject to a few very limited exceptions).
You should always take independent legal advice as soon as possible in respect of any employment concerns.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are experiencing employment problems or are considering submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal, please call us on 01552 440512 for a free, no obligation, phone call. For more information on the services, we offer please visit our website: https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/
Specialist Employment Solicitor
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