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Employment tribunal time limits for employees

Posted on 28th May 2013
Briefing note

Observing employment tribunal time limits is essential. The most important time limit is the last date when a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination can be started.

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Simon Quantrill Simon
Quantrill
Managing Partner Telephone: 01473 688100

For unfair dismissal claims, the basic rule is that a claim must be received by the tribunal on or before three months less one day from the Effective Date of Termination.

Unfair dismissal claims

For unfair dismissal claims, the basic rule is that a claim must be received by the tribunal on or before three months less one day from the Effective Date of Termination (‘EDT’). The EDT is normally your last day at work.

For example, if you were dismissed on 22 June 2013 your claim for unfair dismissal must be received at the correct employment tribunal office by 11.59 pm on 21 September 2013. If you were dismissed on 30 June 2013, your claim for unfair dismissal must be received by 29 September 2013.

In all but the rarest of cases it will not be possible to extend the three month time limit.

Discrimination claims

For discrimination claims, the basic rule is that a claim must be made within three months less one day of the discriminatory act complained of. For example, if a female employee believes she was not promoted because of her sex, the claim for sex discrimination must be made within three months less one day of the date the decision was made not to promote her. If the decision was made on 7 July 2013 any claim must be submitted to the tribunal by 6 October 2013, even if she remains in employment.

Although in discrimination cases it is ‘easier’ to get an extension of the time limit for starting a claim, this should not be relied upon. In the above example, if the employee was not told about the decision not to promote her until say 20 July 2013 and she presented her claim on 19 October 2013 it may be possible to persuade an employment tribunal to accept her claim but it is not guaranteed. 

If you think you have a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination you should contact us as soon as possible for advice so that deadlines are not missed.

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