Employment Cases Update

O’Neill v Jaeger Retail Ltd UKEAT/0026/19/RN

Date published: 05/05/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision dismissing the Claimant’s discrimination claims for being out of time. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant was dismissed by the Respondent during a probation review meeting. She did not know about tribunals and time limits and, by the time that she engaged with the process of bringing discrimination claims in the ET, as a litigant in person, she was about two months past the time limit. The ET, having considered all of the circumstances and evidence, including a letter from the Claimant's GP referring to her having "been through a very very difficult time over the last few months", refused to extend the time limit, and so dismissed her claims. The Claimant appealed on grounds relating to the ET's consideration of the reasons why she did not present her claim form sooner than she did, and the ET's conclusion that the delay in presenting the claim was liable to have a significant impact on the ability of witnesses to recall matters and the cogency of their evidence.

The EAT held that the ET had not given sufficient weight to the GP's letter that provided information about the Claimant's mental health and the impact on her capacity to present her claim within a reasonable time; however, it was not possible to say that granting the extension would be the only proper outcome that could be reached on reconsideration, so the EAT could not substitute its own decision to that effect. Accordingly, the matter would be remitted to a fresh ET to reconsider the question of whether it would be just and equitable to extend time in this case.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.