Promoting early settlement outside the tribunal

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 includes a number of measures to encourage employers and employees to settle disputes at an early stage. These include a new provision that, at least on the face of it, will allow employers to open negotiations with their employees about terminating their employment on agreed terms without the risk of these discussions being disclosed in subsequent unfair-dismissal proceedings.

However, this provision will apply only to ordinary unfair-dismissal claims and not to claims for automatically unfair dismissal or discrimination of any kind. The employer will also lose protection if it has done anything that a tribunal views as ‘improper’. In addition, in a bid to make them more popular, compromise agreements will be renamed settlement agreements, and ACAS has been asked to draw up a code of practice to promote their use…

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