Remember to take Acas early conciliation steps before issuing a tribunal claim

2014-11-14 Jennifer Renney posted:

Since May 2014, employees wishing to bring a claim against their employer must attempt Acas early conciliation beforehand. The employment tribunal has always taken a strict approach to rules and procedures, and in a recent case, an employment judge had to decide whether to strike out an employee’s case because she had failed to attempt Acas early conciliation.

The case concerned a Building Society employee who tried to bring a claim against her former employer for subjecting her to a detriment for making a protected disclosure. The claimant’s solicitor stated on the claim form that the claimant did not have an early conciliation certificate number because she was exempt from early conciliation. The Tribunal accepted the claim form, but the Building Society, in its defence to the claim, asked the Tribunal to reject the claim as the employee did not undertake the early conciliation process.

The Judge held that the claimant’s claim should have been rejected due to the failure to follow the early conciliation rules. However, the claimant quickly got in touch with Acas and obtained a reference number afterissuing proceedings, and was allowed to proceed as the Judge felt that she should not be denied access to justice.

This case raises some interesting points about the relationship between the requirement to undertake early conciliation as a pre-claim step and the employment tribunal rules and not everyone is likely to be as lucky as this particular employee.

A claimant who realises that they haven’t complied with the early conciliation requirement should contact Acas without delay and obtain a certificate to seek to remedy the defect as soon as possible.

If you’re considering submitting a claim to the employment tribunal, remember to contact Acas first to avoid falling foul of the tribunal’s rules and procedures. For further information on how to present claims, contact Renney and Co Employment Solicitors today on 01225 632240 or at info@renneyandco.com.

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