ACAS Early Conciliation
Once you have completed the online form, an ACAS officer will make contact with you to discuss your grievances with your employer.
They will then contact your employer and try to resolve the matters with your employer and act as the mediator.
Any agreement reached with the assistance of the ACAS officer may be formalised by way of what is called a COT 3 settlement agreement.
If they fail to achieve a resolution then they will issue what is called an ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate.
Once you have this you have 1 month to proceed to issue an Employment Tribunal claim if you are so minded (*may be longer – check out time limit calculator).
You cannot do this without an ACAS Certificate reference number.
Negotiating a settlement with the employer
Depending on the circumstances, you may feel that you can no longer continue to work for your employer. If this is the case and you are considering resigning from your workplace, before you hand in your notice letter, you may want to try to negotiate a settlement with your employer.
A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer that usually provides you with terms for financial and non-beneficial benefits in return for your agreement not to pursue any claims against them in a Tribunal or a Court.
If your settlement negotiations are successful and you agree on a settlement agreement, your employment will most likely terminate and you may receive:
- Financial benefits: payment of your notice pay, any outstanding salary and holiday, and compensation for termination of your employment plus injury to feelings
- Non-financial benefits: the employer provides you with an agreed reference, announcement, and mutual confidentiality clauses, and allows you to keep company property, such as a company computer or mobile phone.
If you are in a situation where your employer is unwilling to negotiate with you to reach a resolution you feel you can no longer continue to work for your employer, we recommend that you seek advice of an expert employment solicitor before you take any steps to resign.
Taking your employer to the Employment Tribunal
If you are unable to resolve matters internally with your employer through the grievance procedure or with the assistance of ACAS through Early Conciliation or by way of a settlement agreement, your last resort is to bring an Employment Tribunal claim.
You have to complete an online Tribunal claim Form called an ET1 setting out your details, those of your employer and details of your claim. We strongly advise against doing this yourself unless it is a simple wages claim and you should really seek the services of a professional Employment Law Solicitor to do this for you.
Employment Law is a very technical and complex area of law and there is every chance that you will fail to set out and omit material facts or legal claims from the outset that will potentially prejudice your claim and the level of financial outcome.
The claim is then passed to your employer by the Tribunal who then have 28 days to lodge their defence called a Form ET3.
The case will then be listed for a case management hearing usually by phone for an hour or so. This is where the Judge clarifies the issues in your case, sets a final hearing date and makes various procedural directions.
- Disclosure of relevant documents between the parties,
- Preparation of a schedule of loss setting out what the claim is worth;
- Preparation of a paginated trial bundle containing both parties’ documents that are relevant to the issues in the case.
- Providing for exchange of witness statements of all those who intend to give evidence at the final hearing.
Eventually, the case will come around for the final hearing by video or in person. All parties and witnesses attend, with legal representatives. This can be a Solicitor or Barrister.
Each side presents their case and witnesses who are subject to cross-examination and questions from the Judge. After the Tribunal have heard the evidence of both sides and any closing submissions, they make a decision in the case. If applicable, they then move on to consider compensation.