The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), is a non-departmental public body which provides free advice to employers, employees and their representatives. ACAS can help resolve conflicts in the workplace.
If you believe you have grounds to bring a claim against your employer/former employer in respect of a workplace dispute, you MUST informed ACAS before making a claim to an employment tribunal.
ACAS will then offer you 'early conciliation'. This is the formal procedure in which ACAS will attempt to speak with you and your employer about the dispute with the aim of helping the parties reach an agreement. The early conciliation process used to last for 4 week however, it was recently extended to 6 weeks.
If you cannot reach an agreement then ACAS will issue you with a certificate to prove that you have attempted early conciliation.
You can then issue a claim at an employment tribunal.
A tribunal claim MUST be issued within 3 months less 1 day from the date of dismissal or the date the dispute arose. This time frame can be suspended during the ACAS early conciliation process. Calculating the time limits relevant to your claim can be complex and you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity, in order to protect your position.
If you miss the deadline for issuing your claim at a tribunal, it is only in rare and exceptional circumstances, that you would be granted permission to file your claim out of time. Originally if you miss the deadline to issue your claim, you would not be granted an extension of time.
This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in place of specific legal advice. If you have an employment related query then please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.