Accepting a Claim Issued out of Time
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has recently been asked to consider if a Claimant asserts that he did not have the mental capability to bring a claim in time whether a Tribunal would have jurisdiction to hear a claim brought as soon as the Claimant was able to do so even if it was brought outside of the three month time limit.
This is an interesting point as the Employment Tribunals do have the discretion to accept a claim that is submitted out of time but they generally require a very good reason to do so.
In the case of Norbert Dentressangle Logistics Limited v Hutton Mr Hutton gave evidence that he was unwell following his dismissal and as a result the claim was submitted six weeks after the time limit. He had difficulty in giving his evidence to the Tribunal and the Employment Judge relied upon Mr Hutton’s graphic description of his inability to perform normally function properly or bring himself to deal with his claim concluding that it was not reasonably practicable for his claim to be submitted within the three month time period.
The Judge then went on to consider as the claim could not be submitted in the usual time whether it was presented within a reasonable time thereafter. Mr Hutton argued that he brought the claim as soon as he felt able to do so. This was accepted by the Judge who had no reason to doubt Mr Hutton’s credability.
Mr Hutton’s employer appealed this decision and the EAT concluded that it was reasonable for Mr Hutton to delay issuing the claim beyond the usual three month period and on that basis it agreed with the decision of the Tribunal.
It is difficult to know whether or not a claim will be accepted if it is submitted outside of the three month time limit and in the majority of situations a claim would not be successful because of this. However in certain circumstances the Tribunal can accept a claim out of time if there is a good reason why it was not reasonably practicable to present the claim within three months.
As the question of whether a claim is accepted out of time is entirely dependant on the facts in each case potential Claimants should always be sure to take advice in good time and remember that all claims (with only a few very specific exceptions) should be submitted within three months from either the date of any discrimination or the date of a dismissal whichever is earlier.
If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed by your employer you consider that you have been subjected to discrimination on the grounds of your race sex disability or any other reason and you are looking for an employment solicitor in Leeds who specialises in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims please contact the dedicated employment team at Michael Lewin Solicitors and we will be happy to discuss your claim with you.