Guide to Conciliation
Introduction to Conciliation
The Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service (JACS) 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 JACS.
Conciliation can be used in:
- Collective Disputes
- Unfair Dismissal claims
- Individual Disputes
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 legal processes to the parties and, if conciliation should fail, offer advice on any relevant laws and procedures for progressing the claim.
The conciliation officer will not take the side of either party to the dispute and will remain impartial at all times; neither will the officer make decisions on the merits of the cases or recommend the acceptance of any proposed settlement.
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 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.
Should conciliation fail, or one or both parties refuse conciliation, the complaint will be referred to the Tribunal.
Conciliation is also an effective method of resolving collective disputes, without the need for reference to the Tribunal under the Employment Relations (Jersey) Law 2007, which will soon be in force. 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 for a legally binding settlement.
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 leaflets 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
The Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service also provides a free and confidential advisory service to employees, trade unions and employers on employment and discrimination related matters.