New rules aimed at reducing the number of employment tribunals will require staff, who want to bring a case of unfair dismissal or discrimination, to first notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to see if the dispute can be resolved before being given access to a full tribunal. In addition, the new rules will also require employers to consult Acas before having access to a full tribunal. If the employer then loses a case brought by an employee or former employee, and is shown to have especially poor workplace practices, it could be fined up to £5,000 on top of any back pay that is due to the employee. Jenny Willott, employment relations minister, said the Early Conciliation scheme was “good news for employees and employers”. She added: “It will help them resolve their workplace disputes, avoiding the stress, time delays and excessive costs all too often associated with tribunals.” The Trades Union Congress (TUC) added that the fines would create a welcome new incentive for bosses to respect the rights of their staff rather than risk increased financial penalties. Further changes are also coming into force in the new tax year which will include a rise in National Insurance allowances for employers, a fall in corporation tax to 21% and a rise in the ISA allowance to £5,940. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with employment law solicitors in Cardiff and across the country.