I received a call yesterday from a lovely lady who told me she had been dismissed by her employer. From the circumstances she described, I considered she would have an excellent claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal. However, things got quite frantic when she told me the date of her dismissal! Read on for more information.
What Are The Time Limits For A Claim At The Employment Tribunal?
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.
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 – if your employment ended on, for example, 30 June 2021, you would have until 29 September 2021 to start the process.
If, however, your claim is about a situation which has been going on for some time – for example, sexual harassment 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.
The 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, you will have at least one month from the date of your Certificate to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal.
Free Employment Law Consultation
During my client’s free consultation, she told me her last day of employment was 30 June 2021! I explained that she needed to take action immediately to start the litigation process as she was in danger of her claim being “out of time”. If that happened, she would not be able to pursue her 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 her, she went on her computer to register her complaint with ACAS Early Conciliation, thereby ensuring that her claim would not go out of time.
She explained that after her dismissal she felt very anxious and it had taken her a few weeks to pluck up the courage to call a solicitor. It was only good fortune she called yesterday as had she waited any longer, she would have lost her ability to claim. She had been told (wrongly) that she had years to bring a claim and therefore our discussion came as a shock.
Don’t Wait – Act Now!
My client’s call 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 yesterday, 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, 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. Your initial telephone consultation is free and you are under no obligation for further work. 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/
Sally Hubbard, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, Lincoln
Tags: acas early conciliation ACAS EC employment tribunal employment tribunal claim employment tribunal time limits lincs law employment solicitors sally hubbard time limits for claims at employment tribunal