How to Use ACAS to Resolve Disputes with an Employer

If you’d like to resolve a dispute with an employer, ACAS can assist you by attempting a conciliation using ACAS’ Early Conciliation (EC) Scheme. Early conciliation gives both parties a chance to resolve any employment disputes through ACAS–as long as both agree.

Either party can choose not to engage with conciliation. Should conciliation not be possible, you can then make a tribunal claim. Here are some common questions on how to resolve a dispute with an employer.

How do I file a claim?

In order to make a claim, you must first complete an online EC form available on the ACAS website at within 3 months of the incident. Filing a claim later than the 3-month deadline does not guarantee it will be accepted, but the tribunal will review it and decide whether or not to award you a time extension for the claim.

If you do not have access to the online claim form, you may also call the ACAS support number at 0300 123 1122 and have a representative complete the form on your behalf over the phone or have a copy mailed to you to fill out and post. You can find all the info you need about ACAS helpline here.

What happens after I file a claim?

You must go through the ACAS process before you can make a claim. The steps after you complete the ACAS form with your contact details and your employer’s are:

.   You must elect if you’d like ACAS to contact your employer in order to conciliate.

.   Should both you and your employer agree to conciliation ACAS may need up to one month to broker an agreement.

.   If settlement fails, ACAS will issue an EC certificate and number.

.   You can use the number to make a tribunal claim within one month from the date on the received EC certificate.

Are my discussions with ACAS confidential?

When you speak with an ACAS representative, everything you say and assert are confidential except for anything you agree may be disclosed to your employer. An ACAS representative will ask clearly about what, if anything, they need your authorization to discuss with the employer you are in dispute with.

What if I need further advice on my case?

ACAS does not represent either party in a dispute or make judgments about an employee’s or employer’s settlement offers. Although ACAS cannot advise you on what you should settle for, they will give you their view of the weaknesses and strengths of your case. Should you need further advice on your case but have limited funds, you can get low-cost or free advice from select law centres, charities, YESS or the CAB.

Could the employer I’m in dispute with use this process to their benefit?

Yes. An employer, for example, may attempt to delay your claim or test its strength. The employer will probably want to know what claims you might have against them so they can decide what action to take. Some employers may refuse to negotiate or even engage, thinking that it’s highly probably you may never file a claim because of the tribunal fees.

ACAS is available to help an employer and employee work together to resolve problems that have arisen during their work history. In order to have the best chance for success, follow the simple steps above to file and resolve your claim.


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