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Employment Issues.

ACAS SETTLEMENTS Q. What is the organisation known as ACAS? A. ACAS, that is the Arbitration and Conciliation Service, is an independent government funded organisation which offers a mediation and conciliation service to employers and employees involved in disputes.

Q. What is an ACAS settlement? A. An ACAS settlement generally refers to a situation in which an employment law dispute between an employer and an employee or former employee, is resolved after mediation and negotiation involving ACAS.

Q. How do ACAS become involved in employment law disputes? A. If an employee or former employee submits a claim to an Employment Tribunal, the tribunal office will send ACAS a copy of the claim. An ACAS conciliator will be appointed and will contact the employee and the employer to try and attempt conciliation to reach an agreement so that a tribunal hearing is not needed.

Q. Is ACAS conciliation a free service or are there costs involved? A. ACAS conciliation is free to both employees and employers and is voluntary and both sides must agree to the involvement of ACAS.

Q. What are the effects of an ACAS agreement? A. If a settlement of an employment law dispute is agreed through ACAS, then no tribunal hearing is necessary and both the employer and the employee will be bound by the terms of any settlement brokered by ACAS. An employee who enters into such a settlement cannot then decide to continue with an employment tribunal claim.

Q. How is an ACAS settlement recorded? A. If an ACAS settlement is reached in a dispute, both parties, that is the employer and the employee or their representatives, will be asked to sign a document known as a COT3. The COT3 document will record in writing the terms of the settlement and this then becomes legally binding on both parties.

Q. How can an ACAS settlement be enforced? A. An ACAS settlement will generally be enforceable as if it were a county court order. An employee can normally enforce the settlement without having first to register it in the county court. Q. Are ACAS able to become involved in disputes before any employment tribunal has been made? A. ACAS also runs a pre-claim conciliation scheme. This is available where internal processes have failed to resolve the dispute and a possible employment tribunal claim may be made.

Q. How do I contact ACAS? A. The ACAS helpline is 0845 747 4747 and its website is at www.acas.org.uk * For further advice and assistance on all matters, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. There are CABs located in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton.

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With Joe Michna, Hartlepool Citizens' Advice Bureau manager
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Words:450
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