Question

I have been employed by the same employer for 3 years and last week my employment was terminated with immediate effect and for no apparent reason. What are the next steps should I wish to pursue my employer through an Employment Tribunal?

Answer

Paul Cowdery, Partner at Clarke & Son replies:

This sounds like a clear case of unfair dismissal and breach of contract and you will have three months from the date of dismissal to issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal. However, since 6th April 2014 the first step is to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and undertake ACAS Early Conciliation.

ACAS is an independent organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment related disputes. Whilst many people agree that it is always best to try and amicably resolve any dispute prior to issuing a claim not many people are aware that ACAS Early Conciliation is a mandatory requirement now.

The process will involve completing a form and being allocated an ACAS conciliator who will liaise with you or your legal representative with a view to negotiating a settlement with your employer and the good news is that the three month clock stops ticking the moment you complete and lodge the application form.

Having discussed your claim with either you or your legal representative, the ACAS conciliator will then proceed to contact your employer to ascertain whether it wishes to enter into negotiation discussions. Whilst it is not mandatory, and your employer may decline, statistics show that in the first three months following the introduction of ACAS Early Conciliation less than 9% of employers rejected the offer to negotiate.

ACAS Early Conciliation is proving extremely popular and of the 11,355 cases notified to ACAS, two-thirds ended during the process with 1 in 6 of these being settled through a conciliator by way of a document called a COT3.

However, should ACAS Early Conciliation be unsuccessful in your situation you will be issued with a Certificate and the three month clock will begin from where it was stopped giving you at least one month from the issue of the Certificate to issue a claim.

If you have a query or would like to book an appointment please get in touch with our First Contact team on 01256 320555 or email mail@clarkeandson.co.uk