The employment tribunals are being shaken up by a new system of Early Conciliation, from April 2014. This new system will allow employees to bring a claim only if they can demonstrate they have contacted ACAS first.
Early Conciliation will work by an employee filling in a form on the ACAS website. ACAS will then contact them by phone to act as a kind of broker to help the two sides come to some sort of agreement. This may mean that the claim does not progress to a tribunal, which could save both parties time and money as tribunal fees came into force July 2013. All conversations are conducted on a 'without prejudice' basis, so nothing said during this process can be used later on in a tribunal.
It is hoped this new service will enable both parties to talk, which should reduce the cost, save time and stress.