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Talking can prevent employment tribunals

New research shows that seeking advice on workplace problems helps avert employment tribunals, saving businesses millions of pounds.

The report, commissioned by employment relations service Acas, showed that its helpline helped to avoid around 16,000 employment tribunals last year, saving £120 million.

The research also showed that respondents in the construction, distribution, retail and hotels sectors were significantly more likely to have considered making a claim with just over one in ten employees – 13 per cent – subsequently going ahead with the action.

Information provided by the Acas telephone helpline was found to be valuable in assisting employees to be aware of their rights and seek solutions to their problems, and as a result were spared the costs and anxieties linked with putting in a tribunal claim.

Carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies, the Acas helpline Survey 2007 was undertaken with employers, employees and third parties who had used the Acas national helpline. It showed that almost a quarter – 23 per cent – of employees had been considering making an employment tribunal claim before calling, but of this percentage, almost a third – 30 per cent – decided against pursuing a claim as a result of the information provided, meaning 16,000 were averted.

“These findings show that talking things through can make a huge difference. Clearly there are savings to be made for both business and the individual. Employment tribunals can be expensive, time-intensive and stressful. As well as using our helpline service and website, we are urging businesses and employees to take a ‘prevention over cure’ approach and stop these types of problem escalating to employment tribunals,” said Ed Sweeney, Acas chair.

A full copy of the report can be found at