An Employment Tribunal has held in Myers and another -v- Nottingham City Council 2015 that the whole of the early conciliation period can be added on to the usual time limit for bringing a claim, even where the conciliation period commences before the date of termination.
In this case, the two Claimants were given notice of dismissal on 11 March 2015. They were subsequently dismissed on 8 June. They entered a period of early conciliation on 3 June, which ended on 30 July. According to the usual 3 month time limit for bringing claims, the relevant date was 7 September. They actually filed their claims on 6 October. If the entire one month period of early conciliation is added to the time limit then the claims were brought within time as the deadline was 7 October. The employer sought to argue that only the number of days of the early conciliation period after the dismissal could be added to the time limit, meaning the claims needed to be brought by 2 October.
Following an earlier decision (Chandler -v- Thanet District Council 2015), the tribunal held that the entire period of conciliation could be added to the time limit. Any other outcome would be a disincentive against the parties engaging with the conciliation process at an early stage. Although this is only a tribunal decision and does not have the weight of an EAT decision, it does indicate that a consensus is emerging on this point.