Employment Tribunal Claims

Most Employment Tribunal claims have to be made within a prescribed period of the act complained of.

What is the time limit?

In most cases a complaint must be lodged within 3 months .

However there are a number of exceptions. For example, the period rises to 6 months if the dismissal is for taking part in official industrial action, or the claim is for a redundancy payment. Occasionally a shorter period is prescribed e.g. when an interim remedy is sought following unfair dismissal, this must be applied for within 7 days.

When does the time limit run from?

Time runs the effective date of termination (in dismissal related claims).  In other types of cases, the date generally runs from the date on which the act complained of took place, or the date on which the exercise of a right should have been permitted e.g. the date of the appointment when time off for antenatal care was refused.

Can the time limit be extended?

Time limits are strict. The parties themselves have no power to agree an extension of time, or to waive the time limit Radakovits v Abbey National Plc 2010.

The Tribunal can extend the time for lodging the application on 2 grounds:

  1. where it was “not reasonably practicable” for the complaint to be presented in  time and the delay is reasonable and
  2. where the tribunal considers it is “just and reasonable” to extend time in all the  circumstances.  

The “not reasonably practicable” test is the stricter test and both limbs of the test must be satisfied. In “just and reasonable” cases the Tribunal has a wider discretion, but a good reason for the delay must be shown. In making a decision the Tribunal will take such factors as the length of the delay, the effect on witnesses, the prejudice to the parties and what steps were taken to obtain professional advice

Which test applies depends on the legislation under which the claim is made e.g. the “not reasonably practicable” test is applied to unfair dismissal claims under the Employee Rights Act 1996 whereas the “just and reasonable” test applies to discrimination claims under the Equality Act  2010.

If you want to discuss any employment issues please contact Janet Long by email at j.long@pj-h.co.uk

The contents of this article are intended for general information only.  It is not a substitute for legal advice, and shall not be deemed to be or constitute legal advice.  We therefore cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.  We will, however, be pleased to advise you on the specific facts of your case