…and it all changes back!
Having previously blogged about the changes to employment tribunals, today is about the change in the other direction – early conciliation.
Fees were introduced to the employment tribunals to stop disgruntled staff trying it on. Now they can again “try it on”!
With early conciliation they don’t have to pay any fees. They do have to fill out an online form, but only a very basic one. So they really have no “money in the game”.
Once ACAS has received the form, you will get a phone call from them saying that this employee is thinking of taking you to tribunal.
We have had to deal with this for some of our new clients. It is very frustrating. The ACAS team dealing with early conciliation rather than tribunals is very warm and fluffy. They believe everything that the employee has written. The other team, the one when money has actually been paid, is much more realistic. This team is of the opinion that if you would settle anyway, why not settle now?
The simple answer being 1) we haven’t done anything wrong, and 2) when the ex-staff member has put their money where their mouth is, then we will engage with them.
The employee doesn’t need to give any employment law basis to their claim at this stage, just say that they feel they have been “unfairly treated”.
The case we had was an employee had been put at risk of redundancy and then changed all the company passwords to the website, email accounts etc as she was so annoyed. In addition she threatened her boss with gbh on Facebook (guns, kneecapping, and burning down his house). Her defence? That Facebook is private and she can say what she wants on it! Sorry, but no – anything on the internet is deemed in the public domain. Didn’t stop her trying it on though.
So we are not fans of early conciliation, as it goes back to the “good old days” of seeing how scared the employer is that they did something wrong in their dismissal process. It is annoying for us, as we have done everything right for our clients and yet still have to hold these conversations!