I received a call today from a lovely gentleman who told me he had been dismissed by his employer. From the circumstances he described, I considered he would have an excellent claim for age discrimination and unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal. However, things got quite frantic when he told me the dates of the discrimination he suffered and his dismissal!
Employment Tribunal Time Limits
If a claim to the Employment Tribunal is not lodged in accordance with the relevant statutory time limit, the Employment Tribunal can refuse to consider the matter. This means, of course, that the claim cannot be pursued or progressed.
For most Employment Tribunal matters (there are a few exceptions) you will have three months less one day from the event or incident you are claiming about to start the litigation process. For dismissal claims, working out the time limit is relatively straightforward as you are likely to know the date your employment ended. If your employment ended on, for example, 31 October 2022, you would have until 30 January 2023 to start the process.
If, however, your claim is about a situation which has been going on for some time – for example, sexual harassment or discrimination over a period of time, you will have three months less one day from the last incident. It is not always easy to identify when time starts to run and, in such situations, we would advise you take advice about dates and time limits.
How Do You Start The Employment Tribunal Litigation Process?
The Employment Tribunal litigation process starts with ACAS Early Conciliation. This is a mandatory procedure that Claimants to the Employment Tribunal must complete before they are able to submit their claim. The idea of Early Conciliation is that once you lodge your claim with ACAS, they will appoint a Conciliator to act as a go-between between you and your employer. If a settlement can be reached at that stage, all to the good. If it cannot, an ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate will be issued.
The ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate number must be quoted on any Employment Tribunal claim. The date by which you must submit your Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon the length of time taken within Early Conciliation. That being said, assuming you have stated the process within the time limit above, you will have at least one month from the date of your ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal.
Free Initial Consultation
During my client’s free consultation, he told me his last day of employment was 7 October 2022! I explained that he needed to take action immediately to start the litigation process as he was in danger of his claim being “out of time”. If that happened, he would not be able to pursue his matter. As above, most Employment Tribunal claims have a time limit of three months from the incident or dismissal to start the litigation process. Whilst I was on the phone with him, he went on his computer to register his complaint with ACAS Early Conciliation, thereby ensuring that his claim would not go out of time.
He explained that after his dismissal he felt very anxious and it had taken him a few weeks to pluck up the courage to call a solicitor. It was only good fortune he called today – he did not know the Employment Tribunal time limits were so short. He had been told (wrongly) that he had years to bring a claim and therefore our discussion came as a shock.
Don’t Wait – Act Now!
The call today got me thinking about all of the calls I take from people who have been treated badly by their employer but, unfortunately, they get in touch too late for me to help them. Some, like my client, have simply been given the wrong information. Others are waiting for their employer to complete an internal process (for example, grievance, disciplinary etc) and wrongly believe that their claim will not go out of time whilst those processes are ongoing. If this is your situation, please make sure you comply with time limits even if the internal process is not complete.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are having problems at work or have been dismissed, please call on 01522 440512 for a free initial enquiry. If you are any doubt about the time limit for your matter, it is always best to get advice at the earliest stage. After all, three months goes by very quickly and you don’t want the decision about your Employment Tribunal claim to be taken out of your hands.
For more information about the Employment Tribunal process, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/employment-tribunal-claims/
Managing Director, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, Lincoln