Employment tribunal faces radical overhaul

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Employment relations minister Gerry Sutcliffe set out draft regulations requiring employers and employees to follow a minimum three-stage process for dispute resolution.

From October 2004, employment tribunals will reject employees who raise a grievance, unless they can prove they have previously raised this grievance through formal procedures at work.

Employers, on the other hand, who dismiss staff without using the statutory procedure will face an automatic verdict against them from a tribunal of unfair dismissal.

‘Disputes at work are expensive, stressful and disruptive for both employers and employees. We want to establish new minimum standards that will help employers and employees resolve disputes before it is too late,’ Sutcliffe said.

The new formal process flows from the Employment Act 2002. Draft regulations define that the process needs to include the other party receiving a writing report of the problem with full details, both parties meeting to discuss the issue, and an appeal to be arranged if requested.

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