Resolving workplace disputes prior to employment tribunal application

Mediation 

Mediation in the workplace is being formally promoted by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), initially amongst designated industries to finalise best practise.

BIS have also issued a tender, for providers of workplace mediation training. Employers are expected to have trained members of their staff who can undertake mediation in workplace disputes to resolve them before they lead to insurmountable differences and employment tribunal claims.

Compromise Agreements 

Following consultation and concerns expressed, in particular by small firms about the cost of using compromise agreements, BIS are aiming to produce a ‘model agreement’ and renaming them as ‘settlement agreements’.  This is scheduled to be introduced as soon as parliament is able to approve the amendments.

As of 6th April 2012 section 147 of the Equality Act 2010 makes clear that compromise agreements can be validly used  in respect of discrimination claims.

BIS is currently focussing on :-

  • rapid resolution of employment disputes in the workplace  (mediation, compromise agreements)
  • ‘grown up’ protected conversations in the workplace, the contents of which cannot be revealed in an employment tribunal
  • charging fees to bring a claim at an employment and appeal tribunal
  • financial penalties for employers for breaching employment rights ( payable to the exchequer)
  • streamlining TUPE in line with EU practise not simply the letter of the law

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