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Case Study: Using Acas Early Conciliation to Help an Employee Reach a Fair COT3 Settlement


How Martin Searle Solicitors’ Acas Early Conciliation Service helped Tony to reach a fair settlement with his employer.

The situation

Tony was employed by Premium Printing as a Print Minder.

For a number of years, he suffered tinnitus which severely affected his sleep. Most nights he only got 3-4 hours sleep whereas some nights he was unable to sleep at all. Most of the time Tony’s manager, Dave, was understanding and allowed Tony to work his contracted hours flexibly.

June was a particularly difficult month for Tony and he went a number of consecutive nights without being able to sleep. Tony rang in sick for three days in order to try and recover.

On Tony’s first morning back to work, Dave was annoyed and told him: “I don’t mind the odd morning here and there Tony, but I need my team to deliver the work. So, I’m sorry, but I have to let you go. We’ll give you a bit of money as a goodwill gesture. We’ve spoken to Acas about it, they’re okay and they will be in touch.”

Acas then contacted Tony and explained that Premium Printing were offering him £2,500 if he entered a COT3 Settlement. Tony asked the Conciliator if it was a fair settlement sum. The Conciliator said he could not advise Tony, and he told Tony that it was the most that Premium Printing were willing to offer. Tony felt something was not quite right and he looked online for help.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

We advised Tony that he had been unfairly dismissed because Premium Printing had not followed a fair process in ending his employment. Because of his age, seniority and length of service, Tony would be entitled to recover a Basic Award of £6,000, in addition to loss of earnings, and an uplift on those earnings.

We also advised Tony that he had been wrongfully dismissed because Premium Printing had terminated his employment without giving the required 12 weeks notice. Notice pay alone was worth over £3,800.

We advised Tony that he would be able to recover additional compensation for injury to feelings, because Premium Printing had dismissed him for disability-related sickness absence.

We also advised Tony about his entitlement to holiday pay, which we valued at £1,500.

We helped Tony to understand that the offer of £2,500 was worth far less than even his notice pay, and he soon realised that even a conservative Employment Tribunal award would be considerably higher. Tony felt outraged at how much Premium Printing were willing to pay and therefore instructed Martin Searle Solicitors to negotiate on his behalf.

We wrote to Premium Printing setting out the claims that Tony could pursue and the potential cost to the business, at the same time as putting forward a counter-offer.

Premium Printing suggested that Tony was not dismissed but had resigned, and they made counter-offers. We explained to the company why this was untrue and we continued to negotiate with the company.

The result

Premium Printing improved their offer to £18,000, which was worth approximately 12 months pay. It allowed Tony to repay the balance of his mortgage and set up a small business of his own.


“I could not have gone through this process on my own so I really do thank you so much. I am very happy with the outcome”.

If your employer has made an offer of settlement, contact our Employment Law Team on 01273 609911, or email to find out more.

Martin Searle Solicitors, 9 Marlborough Place, Brighton, BN1 1UB
T: 01273 609 991

Martin Searle Solicitors is the trading name of ms solicitors ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and is registered in England under company number 05067303.

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