News and Events

Acas Early Conciliation

  • Posted

In a tribunal claim involving multiple Claimants, is it sufficient to have one Early Conciliation number on the claim form, where the relevant EC certificate does not contain the names of all the Claimants?
Yes, held the EAT in Clark & Ors v Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd and Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd.
The Claimants, who work in a variety of different roles, brought equal pay claims back in 2015. The claims were brought on several multiple claim forms. All the Claimants complied with their Acas Early Conciliation obligations. The issue was the presentation of the claim form and whether they had done so correctly. The claim form only has one box for an EC number to be entered next to each Respondent, so the claimants just put one EC number on each multiple form.
The issue was raised by the Respondents at a fifth preliminary hearing in 2020, who alleged that an EC number must be provided for each claimant. The Claimants contended that Rule 10 of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 only requires that one EC number is contained on the form.
The tribunal rejected the claims of the Claimants whose names did not appear on the EC Certificate connected to the EC number on the multiple claim forms.
The EAT held that the tribunal had erred in law. It was not necessary to list all the claimants’ EC numbers on the multiple claim form. One EC number of an EC certificate which contained the name of one of Claimants in the multiple was sufficient.
However the EAT noted that although there is no requirement to do so, “it is good practice to set out all the EC numbers for all claimants on a multiple claim form as it will assist the employment tribunal and minimises the risk of any issue about EC arising.”
The claims that were initially rejected by the tribunal have been reinstated.