A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal gives employees little wriggle room in relation to the three month time limit for bringing a claim. It has made it clear that where the employee is dismissed without notice, time starts to run from the date the decision to dismiss is communicated to the employee.
Doubts had arisen because last year’s Supreme Court judgment in Société Générale v Geys established that if an employee is dismissed in breach of contract he or she can choose to affirm the contract. This keeps it alive until the due contractual notice has expired. That begged the question whether keeping the contract alive in this way would also extend the time limit for bringing employment tribunal claims.
According this EAT decision – which is the first appeal case to consider the point – Geys did not affect the way the time limit is calculated. That opens up the paradoxical possibility that the time limit for bringing unfair dismissal proceedings could expire before the employee’s contract was effectively brought to an end. But at least it makes the beginning of the three month time limit easy to calculate for both sides in an employment dispute.