Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service provides a free and confidential service to help both employers and employees resolve differences between them concerning work issues. The process by which these differences are resolved is called 'conciliation' and involves a fully trained member of the JACS team.
Conciliation can be used in:
- Collective Disputes
- Unfair Dismissal claims
- Individual Disputes
KEY FEATURES OF OUR CONCILIATION SERVICE
Voluntary - you only take part if you want to and you can stop at any time.
Free - there is no charge for our service.
Impartial - we won't take sides or judge who is right or wrong.
Independent - we are not part of the Employment Tribunal. Conciliation does not delay the tribunal process. What you say during conciliation can't be used as evidence against you at a tribunal hearing.
Confidential - nothing you tell us will be passed on to anyone else unless you agree and nothing said in mediation can be used in any later company procedures or court action.
Available until the matter is resolved - JACS will offer conciliation for as long as the parties wish us to do so, until either the complaint is resolved or is determined by an Employment Tribunal.
WHAT IS CONCILIATION?
Conciliation is the name of the process used to assist parties to reach an agreed solution on their own terms. Conciliation can be carried out by telephone, by meeting the employer and employee separately, in joint meetings, or any combination of these methods. Help will also be given to clarify any issues or facts, which may then assist the parties in making a settlement.
If, during the process, there is information that one of the parties does not wish to share with the other then, providing the conciliation officer is informed of this, the information will not be disclosed.
The conciliation officer will also be able to explain the Tribunal process to you, and, if conciliation should fail, offer advice relevant to progressing the claim.
The conciliation officer will not take the side of either party to the dispute and remains impartial at all times; neither do they make decisions on the merits of the cases or recommend the acceptance of any proposed settlement.
WHY CHOOSE CONCILIATION?
- You can get a clearer idea about the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and ways of resolving it.
- You can avoid the time, expense, risk and stress of going to a hearing.
- Any settlement will be on terms agreed by you, not imposed by a tribunal.
- Everything can be kept confidential - tribunal hearings are public.
- The settlement can include things not available at tribunals (for example, a reference).
Employers or employees who are in dispute may approach JACS for assistance prior to making a reference to the Employment Tribunal, in order to try to reach agreement without the need for legal process. If a settlement is reached, a legally binding "full and final settlement" will be produced by JACS to be signed by both parties.
In any event, JACS is required to offer conciliation to any employee or employer who makes a complaint to the Tribunal, prior to the case being referred for a hearing and a legally binding decision. Please refer to advisory booklet The Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 for more details on the provisions of the law.
If a complaint is made to the Tribunal, once the application and response forms are received by the Tribunal Secretary, copies are sent to a conciliation officer at JACS with a view to assisting both parties to reach a conciliated settlement without the need for a hearing. Either side may refuse conciliation.
If JACS has been involved at an earlier stage i.e. has given advice to either party, then the role of conciliator is allocated to a different member of the team. By this means, we ensure that the conciliation process is handled impartially.
If an agreement is reached, it will be committed to writing and will be signed by the parties and then countersigned by the conciliation officer. No further action may be taken under the Law in respect of the complaint.
WHAT WILL THE CONCILIATOR DO?
In order to help you reach a settlement, the conciliator will talk through the issues with both sides to see if a solution can be found.
Where appropriate, the conciliator will also:
- explain the conciliation processexplain the way tribunals operate, and what they will take into account in deciding the case
- discuss the options open to you
- help you to understand how the other side views the case, and explore with you how it might be resolved without a hearing
- tell you about any proposals the other side has for a settlement.
The conciliator will not:
- make a judgement on the case, or the likely outcome of a hearing
- advise you whether to accept any proposals for settlement or not
- act as your representative, take sides, or help you to prepare your case
WHAT IF I HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE?
If you appoint a representative to act for you, we will conciliate through them, and will not deal with you direct. Your representative may agree a settlement on your behalf. As such a settlement would be legally binding, it is important to ensure that your representative fully understands your requirements.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE CAN'T REACH AGREEMENT?
If you can't reach agreement on a tribunal complaint, and the complaint is not withdrawn, it will be decided by the tribunal.
WILL TALKING TO JACS AFFECT THE TRIBUNAL PROCESS?
No. It is important to comply with all instructions from the tribunal as they will continue to process the case while conciliation is taking place, and will list the case for a hearing unless they hear it has been settled or withdrawn. Conciliation is completely separate from the tribunal process.
Conciliation is also an effective method of resolving collective disputes, without the need for reference to the Tribunal under the Employment Relations (Jersey) Law. This Law is primarily used by collective groups in dispute over their pay and conditions of employment, or where there is a risk of industrial action.
When a dispute is notified under the Law, the Tribunal will ask JACS to try to settle the dispute by giving advice and assistance, by offering conciliation, by arbitration (this method of resolution must be agreed by both parties) or by referring the dispute to the Tribunal (with the agreement of the parties).
When a dispute is notified under Law, the Tribunal will allow JACS sufficient time to try to reach settlement. If the dispute cannot be settled by the above methods, and if one party to the dispute is acting unreasonably (see Code of Practice), the other party may refer the matter to the Tribunal.
Whilst the above Law provides a formal, legal process for resolving disputes, most parties prefer to raise matters informally. Regardless of whether a dispute is notified under the Law, any collective group (or individual) can seek confidential, impartial advice and assistance from Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service's trained conciliation officers who can also provide a conciliation service.
WHO CAN REQUEST CONCILIATION?
An individual employee or employer who has an employment problem may contact the JACS to request advice and possible conciliation. This may be by telephone or in person although, in order to ensure an officer is available, you are advised to telephone and book an appointment.
All enquiries are treated in the strictest confidence.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
On receiving details of a dispute, and after discussion with the complainant, the conciliation officer will offer to contact the other party involved in the dispute to offer assistance in reaching a settlement. No contact will be made unless requested and, as the process of conciliation is voluntary, it may be declined by either party.
IS CONCILIATION SUCCESSFUL?
Where conciliation is requested, a success rate of more than 70% has been achieved.
Although conciliation does not guarantee a settlement, it is a very positive method of resolving disputes without the need to use a more formal process.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED ADVICE ON AN EMPLOYMENT MATTER?
Contact the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service for free, confidential advice or further information.
Advisory booklets are available on a wide range of employment relations matters including local employment legislation and best practice guides on other employment-related subjects.
Telephone: (01534) 730503 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service also provides a free and confidential advisory service to employees, trade unions and employers on any employment-related matter.