How does the Acas arbitration scheme work?

The Acas voluntary arbitration scheme, which came into force in England and Wales on 21 May 2001, provides an alternative to an employment tribunal hearing for cases of unfair dismissal or disputes relating to flexible working requests. Entry to the scheme is voluntary, but the employee must either have a pending application to the employment tribunal or claim that he or she has grounds to lodge such an application. Acas appoints an arbitrator from its panel who will convene an informal and non-confrontational arbitration hearing between the parties. The arbitrator will issue a binding decision at the conclusion of the hearing, which will be confidential to Acas and the parties. If the dismissal is found to be unfair the arbitrator may order the same remedies as an employment tribunal. These are reinstatement, re-engagement or compensation.

The Acas arbitration scheme is separate from the Acas early conciliation scheme.