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If you have a dispute with your employer and want to take out a formal grievance, it is advisable to follow the guidance set out in the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice. This sets out standards of fairness and reasonable behaviour that employers and employees are expected to follow in most situations when dealing with a dispute.
You may find that you can’t resolve your grievance by discussion with your employer and want to take the dispute to a Tribunal. From 6 April 2014 ACAS is offering a new free service called Early Conciliation which is intended to reduce the number of cost;y Tribunals. Although the service is optional, it will be compulsory to notify ACAS of an intention to go to tribunal. ACAS will respond within one working day of receiving details of the case, to gather more information from the claimant and to explain how Early Conciliation works. If you decide to go ahead the case will be passed to an ACAS Conciliator who will also contact you within one working day.
Why Early Conciliation is taking place, the strict time limit allowed for going to Tribunal (Three months minus one day from when the grievance last occurred) is suspended to allow time for the dispute to be resolved. One month is allowed for this although this can be extended by two weeks if necessary. If Early Conciliation does not work you still have the option of going to a Tribunal.
How ever you decide to pursue an employment dispute you can get free, confidential, independent and impartial advice from your local CAB. In relation to Tribunals, a trained Adviser can help you to determine:
- How many claims you may have
- The legal tests that the tribunal will have to apply to each claim
- The facts relevant to these legal tests
- How the facts and arguments that support your case compare with those that support the employer and the chances of success
- A Schedule of Loss and what you may be entitled to in terms of unfair dismissal, basic & compensatory awards, loss of statutory rights, discrimination, financial loss, injury to feelings and personal injury etc.
- Costs – Issue fee, Hearing fee and Other fees together with Disposable Capital test, Gross Monthly Income test the Total Income cap and the Recovery of costs
You may want to consider before you start a formal complaint that even if you win you may not be able to recoup any money you are because the employer is a small limited company, has ceased trading, is insolvent, has a history of winding up and restarting or is in financial difficulty.