Articles

Here you will find all the latest news from the SCE team. In this section we will feature news about what we have been up to, recent mentions in the press, information about the work we do in the community and lots more.

Monthly Archive February 2014

How will the new mandatory ACAS Conciliation affect you?

Mandatory ACAS conciliation has been bandied about for the best part of a year, and it’s finally coming into play on 6 April 2014. So will this new concept revolutionise the concept of early settlement?

This remains to be seen, however for the first time since the creation of Employment Tribunals (then called Industrial Tribunals) in 1964; all potential claimants will need to contact ACAS before submission of a claim. The idea is that ACAS will offer the opportunity for Early Conciliation (EC) and this will lead to resolution of the dispute saving parties time and cost.

Whether you are a potential claimant or respondent the burning question will be how will it work? Well, there will be four steps to the procedure which will be administered through ACAS:

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Right to be Accompanied: Position Affirmed

Observant readers will recall that back in August 2013 we reported on the highly pertinent issue of an employee’s right to be accompanied to a disciplinary or grievance hearing. The case illustration was that of Toal v GB Oils Ltd which considered the position when an employee is refused their first choice of companion. The Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) decided this would amount to a breach of the statutory right to be accompanied under section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999.

The question of whether a worker’s right to be accompanied is limited only by the reasonableness of their request was recently raised again as to whether the Toal decision was correct.

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Unfair Dismissal and Prior Warnings

The use of warnings as a disciplinary tool by employers and the litigation that can sometimes result from this can be a rather confusing area of employment law. This may well be due to the historic alterations in the relevant law.

Prior to April 2009 there was a statutory three-stage disciplinary procedure in place, which while relatively clear and understandable, was overly rigid and so was replaced by the current ACAS Code of Practice. This then left employers to their own devices in putting disciplinary policies in place, including how to stage warnings leading towards the dismissal of an employee.

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