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Employment tribunal minefield for employers

From 6 May it became compulsory for most people bringing an employment tribunal claim to notify ACAS first. They will then be offered early conciliation to try and settle the dispute without going to court. If conciliation is not successful, a conciliation certificate will be issued and the case can go before a tribunal. Claims will not be accepted without a conciliation certificate. Despite these changes, an alarming study carried out on the retail sector found that one in 10 employers was unaware of the new rules around early conciliation. Many were also unaware that as of April this year, they face a fine of up to £5,000 if they lose an employment tribunal case and are found to adopt poor working practices. A similar lack of understanding about the changes, in other sectors of business can probably be assumed which could potentially mean thousands of businesses are at risk of financial penalties.  Phil Boyle, an employment law specialist at Atherton Godfrey, said:  “Conciliation gives the employer advance notice that a claim is being brought, along with a valuable opportunity to resolve it, quickly and cheaply, or as a last resort to prepare a proper defence. “Employment law is constantly changing and no sooner has the government approved one raft of changes than another set of proposals are put forward for consultation.”It is essential that employers stay well informed and up to date as the changes can have a huge impact on business operations. ”
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