Some changes to the employment tribunal process will come into force on 6 October 2021 and are designed to remove some unnecessary red tape.
Rule 54 will be changed to show that a preliminary hearing can be requested by either party or fixed at the employment tribunal’s own initiative on reasonable notice. If the hearing involves preliminary issues then the parties must be given at least 14 days’ notice and the order must specify the relevant preliminary issues that will be addressed.
Another change which will potentially reduce red tape for employees is the change to the early conciliation requirements. Currently, an employee must start an Acas early conciliation process – and get an Acas EC reference number – separately for each respondent. This might be relevant in a discrimination case, where a claim is brought against both the employer and individual alleged discriminators. The new rules will allow an employee to name one or more respondents on the Acas form or in a telephone call, short cutting the process which was previously cumbersome and time consuming for employees. This is good news for employees, and makes common sense, but anything that makes the process easier for employees is something that employers must beware.