A Scottish Employment Tribunal has decided that the early conciliation ‘stop the clock’ time limit provisions do not apply where the time limit for bringing a claim has not yet started. Accordingly, on the facts, where the employee spent a month in early conciliation, but only the last three days of early conciliation fell after the effective date of termination, the time limit for the employee’s claim for unfair dismissal was only extended by those three days.

Why this matters? Whether an employee has brought their tribunal claim in time is an important preliminary issue. This Scottish decision runs contrary to the approach taken by recent English Employment Tribunal decisions, but is arguably is more in keeping with the intention behind the early conciliation provisions. Pending clarification from the EAT, employers should remain live to this time limits issue and may wish to consider arguing it in appropriate cases.

Fergusson v. Combat Stress