The EAT has confirmed its view on the time limit for bringing an unfair dismissal claim, holding that it may not be “reasonably practicable” for an unfair dismissal claim to be presented within the time limit where:
- The employee is reasonably ignorant of the time limit before receiving the outcome of an internal appeal against dismissal.
- The employee presents the claim within a reasonable period afterwards.
In this case, the claimant was dismissed on 13 March 2010, meaning that he had until 12 June 2010 to present a claim for unfair dismissal. Being unaware of this time limit, he launched an internal appeal, the hearing of which took place on 24 May 2010. On 28 June 2010, the claimant was sent a letter dismissing the appeal, which was only received by the claimant in mid July and he presented a claim to the Employment Tribunal on 21 July 2010 (over one month out of time).
The EAT held that whether or not it is reasonably practicable for a claim to be brought in time is a question of fact and that, in this case, it had not been reasonably practicable for the claimant to present a claim prior to the determination of his internal appeal and that he had presented his claim within a reasonable period thereafter.
John Lewis Partnership v Charman