Those who have submitted a tribunal claim will also be offered access to the Labour Relations Agency’s Arbitration Scheme which offers a quick, non–legalistic, less formal, confidential and more cost effective alternative to a tribunal hearing.
The claim is heard by an independent arbitrator under the Labour Relations Agency Arbitration Scheme. Arbitrators have the authority to make legally binding awards in the same way as a tribunal, but the outcomes of hearings are not published.
Hearings are in private, unlike tribunals where members of the public and the media are allowed to attend.
There is no cross-examination of witnesses as there would be at tribunal, which can be helpful where the employment relationship is expected to continue after the hearing.
The Scheme is voluntary – all parties involved in the claim must agree to use it and at any stage, if both parties agree, proceedings can be suspended to allow for conciliation to find a way of resolving the matter without the need for a decision from the arbitrator.
Most claims that could go to tribunal can be resolved through arbitration instead, e.g.:
- Unfair or constructive dismissal;
- Payments owed;
- Redundancy payments;
- Discrimination in recruitment or employment
- Flexible working arrangements; or
- Less favourable treatment of fixed term employees or agency workers.
There is no charge for using the Labour Relations Agency Arbitration Scheme.