Recent EAT judgements suggest Tribunals will not look favourably on parties who do not follow ACAS early conciliation procedure to the letter. This includes cases where the Claimant has gone through conciliation but submitted the incorrect number in their ET1 form such as Sterling v United Learning. Or in circumstances where conciliation between the parties is impossible, such as Cranwell v Cullen where the Claimant was sexually harassed and physically assaulted.

The recent judgements show that the courts are taking Early Conciliation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution seriously and will penalise claimants and respondents who do not adhere to the rules, even if their case is otherwise considered a slam dunk. Employers need to make sure that even if they do not wish to reconcile issues with claimants that they jump through the hoops of the ACAS Early Conciliation process.