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New law will change employment tribunal claims

A leading Coventry law firm has highlighted an important change in Employment law, which will affect the way staff bring Employment Tribunal claims against their employer.

Early Conciliation will come into effect on April 6 and aims to promote settlement between parties at an early stage, reducing the number of claims made to an Employment Tribunal.

The new law will make it compulsory for anyone wishing to make an Employment Tribunal claim on or after May 6 to first contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

An independent conciliation officer will then try to resolve the dispute quickly and cost effectively without the matter having to proceed to an Employment Tribunal.

Early Conciliation has been designed to resolve workplace disputes which may otherwise lead to an Employment Tribunal hearing including, unfair dismissal claims, workplace discrimination, and payment disputes.

Julia Woodhouse, partner at Band Hatton Button LLP Solicitors who specialises in Employment law, said Employment Tribunals can often be costly, stressful and time-consuming for all parties involved in a dispute.

"We would advise all employers and employees to try to resolve disputes as early as possible; however this is not always possible within the workplace.

"Early Conciliation through ACAS will attempt to resolve disputes without the need for the parties to get involved in Employment Tribunal proceedings.

"It is important for all parties involved to actively consider Early Conciliation to make sure as many disputes as possible are resolved without having to go to the Employment Tribunal. However, the parties cannot be forced to settle through Early Conciliation.

"Employees and employers should ensure that they understand the strengths and weaknesses of the potential claims before they consider settling them."

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