Wedgewood v Minstergate Hull Ltd 2010 UKEAT0137/10

Mr Wedgewood was given notice that his contract would expire on 1 December 2008. On 26 November he was informed that he was being released but would be paid up to and including his notice period Monday 1 December. He brought a claim in the employment tribunal which was lodged by email on 28 February. Minstergate contended that this was outside the prescribed 3 months’ time limit because his effective date of termination was either 26 or 28 November. Mr Wedgewood submitted that the letter of 26 November did not alter the effective date of termination. The Judge held that the effective date was 26 November and Mr Wedgewood appealed.

The appeal was allowed on the basis that the effective date of termination was not altered simply by absolving him from working his period of notice. It could be altered by the parties agreeing expressly but that had not occurred in this case as the letter of 26 November did not alter the date.

The reason for Mr Wedgewood’s termination arose out of prospective redundancies in the accountancy department. Mr Wedgewood wanted to leave early because he was uncomfortable at having to continue to work and he had completed everything although he returned to work on Friday 28 November for a handover meeting. Although Mr Wedgewood was released from his obligation to work, the letter stated that he would still be paid up to and including the notice period date of Monday 1 December. The effective date of termination therefore was 1 December 2008 and the claim was in time.

Key point: The effective date of termination may not be amended merely by an arrangement that an employee would be absolved from working the full period of notice.