Our next case concerns time limits and limitation dates for ET proceedings. We rarely cover procedural cases because they don’t often impact employers and are also full of dull jargon. However, this case could be of some use.
After receiving the judgment in an Employment Tribunal claim, the losing party then has 42 days to appeal the decision to the EAT. As with bringing a claim, the EAT can allow a time extension if it was not reasonably practicable to bring the appeal in time. The Tribunal also sends guidance with every ET judgment that states an appellant should contact the EAT if no receipt of appeal is received within seven days of sending.
The question this week is:
Should a Claimant be allowed to bring an appeal out of time if their Notice of Appeal has been lost in the post?
Dr Haydar, the Claimant, was a doctor at the Pennie Acute NHS Trust, the Respondent. The Claimant brought claims for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. The ET rejected the discrimination claim but allowed the unfair dismissal claim, albeit with a 50% deduction for contributory fault.
The Claimant received the judgment on the judgment on 14th April, this meant his Notice of Appeal needed to be received by the EAT by 27th May. Like all parties, he received the guidance that advises parties to contact the ET if they haven’t received confirmation of receipt within seven days of posting.
The Claimant posted his appeal on 14th May, he received no confirmation of receipt from the EAT. It is assumed the appeal was lost in the post. On 1st July, more than 6 weeks after posting, the Claimant contacted the EAT who stated they had not received the Notice of Appeal. The Claimant sent another Notice of Appeal on 7th July.
The EAT rejected the appeal for being out of time. They invited the Claimant to apply for a time extension. The application was refused and the Claimant appealed. The CoA held that because the Claimant had not followed the guidance and chased up his appeal within seven days of posting no extension could be granted.
The takeaway point:
No, appeals will be rejected if they are out of time due to getting lost in the post. The guidance sent out by the ET is there to ensure situations like this don’t happen. Had the Claimant sent the appeal electronically, he would have received notification of receipt instantly.