Employment Cases Update

Stratford-on-Avon District Council v Hughes UKEAT/0163/20/OO

Date published: 08/04/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision that the Claimant’s claim for unfair dismissal was presented out of time but that it was not reasonably practicable to have presented it earlier, and so the claim could proceed. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant contended that he was unfairly dismissed by the Respondent and started the ACAS conciliation process. ACAS contacted the Claimant to say that the Respondent did not wish to continue with conciliation, and emailed him a certificate to that effect, but the Claimant never received it. When the Claimant chased up the certificate, and finally received it, he submitted his claim on the next day, but that was three days after time had expired. The ET found that, in all the circumstances, it was not reasonably practicable for the Claimant to have presented his claim before the date when he received the certificate. The Respondent appealed.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in finding that it was not practicable for the claim to be brought until the Claimant had received the certificate; the correct question was whether it would have been reasonably practicable for the Claimant to have obtained the certificate earlier, in order to start the proceedings as required by the rules. Accordingly, the case would be remitted to the ET to consider, asking itself the right question.

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