Is there a role for ADR in employment disputes?

The Global Pound Conference (GPC) Series is a unique and ambitious initiative to inform how civil and commercial disputes are resolved in the 21st century, collating views from over 4000 people at 28 conferences spanning 24 countries worldwide. Herbert Smith Freehills teamed up with PwC, IMI (International Mediation Institute) to identify key insights emerging from the extensive voting data, summarised in the ground-breaking Global Pound Conference report. The report identifies a strong preference amongst potential litigants for a flexible dispute resolution approach and a focus on collaboration over representation, with in-house counsel being the most likely agents of change. These themes certainly chime with a recent but growing interest in ADR in the employment sphere: the desire for efficiency in time and cost is acute, given the low value of many employment claims, and the potential for confidential resolution and in some cases a desire to preserve a valued individual relationship makes ADR an obvious option.

In the article here, the Herbert Smith Freehills employment team consider the relevance of the GPC data in the context of employment disputes in the key jurisdictions of Australia, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. We discuss the availability – and pros and cons – of various ADR methods for employment issues in those jurisdictions. One of our London partners, Peter Frost, and Paul Goulding QC of Blackstone Chambers co-chaired various reports on this issue by the Employment Lawyers Association’s Arbitration and ADR Group, and the article also reflects on those findings. Continue reading

UK: Employment law reforms – changes in force from May 2014

  • From 6 May 2014 it became mandatory for claimants to submit to Acas an early conciliation form (or provide the details by telephone) before lodging an employment tribunal claim. For further details see here. Provided the potential claimant agrees, Acas will contact the employer using the contact details provided by the claimant – which may not be for the most appropriate person at the employer. Clients may therefore wish to take advantage of the option to provide their preferred contact details for early conciliation calls, for inclusion on a register maintained by Acas. To do so, email ECcontactslist@acas.org.uk or telephone 0151 728 5615.
  • For TUPE transfers taking place on or after 1 May 2014, transferors must provide Employee Liability Information at least 28 days prior to the transfer (increased from 14 days).
  • April 2014 changes were summarised in our last ebulletin, here.

Continue reading

UK: Early conciliation – details and implementation date confirmed

Commencement orders have confirmed that the mandatory period for Acas early conciliation of potential tribunal claims will apply to claims lodged from 6 May 2014, with transitional provisions covering the period from 6 April to 5 May. Claimants can choose to contact Acas for early conciliation from 6 April and, if they do so, must obtain an Acas early conciliation certificate that the process has finished before lodging their claim (in the same way as for post 5 May claims). Continue reading

UK: New cap on unfair dismissal compensatory award will apply from 29 July 2013

The Government has confirmed that the change to the cap on the unfair dismissal award will apply from 29 July 2013 (subject to parliamentary apprioval for the draft statutory instrument). The maximum compensatory award which a tribunal will be able to award will be the lower of the cap set annually (currently £74,000) and 12 months' pay.

The Government has also published its response to consultation over how Acas early conciliation will work, and a call for evidence on the framework of whistleblowing laws. Further details can be found here.