Businesses across the West Midlands have been urged to prepare for new workplace dispute changes which could nip legal action in the bud.
Workplace expert Acas, is urging business owners and employees in the region to take advantage of a new free service which can handle disputes before they go to an Employment Tribunal.
Anyone thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim will now need to notify Acas first.
Acas will offer a new free service called Early Conciliation to try to resolve the dispute quickly without the need for legal action.
Acas said: “Early Conciliation builds on the success of a similar service that Acas has been running since 2009 called Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) which deals with around 20,000 cases a year and over three quarters of which don’t reach a tribunal hearing.
“This saves employers and employees the stress, cost and anxiety associated with the tribunal process. Acas West Midlands dealt with around 2000 PCC cases last year.”
Malcolm Boswell, West Midlands regional Director, said: “We know that small business owners in West Midlands are less likely to have written procedures in place or an internal HR function and may fear the prospect of facing an employment tribunal.
“Seven out of ten people that use our current PCC service are from small organisations with fewer than 50 employees in the workplace.
“PCC becomes Early Conciliation which is free and will give us the chance to help even more people resolve their disputes early.
“Independent research has found that our current PCC service saves employers on average £3,200 compared to dealing with an employment tribunal case.
“At Acas our advice is always that it is better to resolve disputes at the earliest possible stage, ideally in the workplace itself,” added Mr Boswell.
A new independent analysis has also found that Acas’s free early dispute resolution service, Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC), has benefited the GB economy by around £19 million.