Employment tribunal time limits

14 February 2020

The last thing your business wants is an employment tribunal claim. However, in the unfortunate circumstance in which one does arise, it’s important you’re familiar with employment tribunal time limits.

You can request immediate assistance from us if you need help with representation: 0800 028 2420. Or you can read on for an understanding of the procedure claimants need to follow in a certain period.

Failure of which could result in the situation becoming an employment tribunal claim out of time.

General employment tribunal time limits

In the majority of cases, the time limit for starting proceedings in the tribunal is three months from the date of the act complained of.

For example, employment tribunal time limits for discrimination state that the claim needs bringing forward within three months of the discriminatory act (or actions).

With the involvement of dismissal, employment tribunal time limits for unfair dismissal begin three months from the effective date of termination (EDT).

This is also the case for employment tribunal time limits for constructive dismissal. This means that, if the claim is not brought during this time period, an individual can’t try to bring it later. 

There are specific situations when this three-month limit extends to six months, including the following.

  • Employment tribunal time limits for redundancy payment claims.
  • Claims for equal pay.
  • Unfair dismissal for taking part in official industrial action and unlawful exclusion or expulsion from a trade union.

Peninsula Business Services is here to help

Since 1983 we’ve assisted tens of thousands of SMEs with complex employment law issues. You can contact us for a call back if you need representation at an employment tribunal.   

We’re an international business and our UK office specialise in employment law services.

And we’ve helped thousands of small and medium-sized businesses successfully defend against claims.

Having access to industry-leading guidance can make all the difference when going through the process. Contact us if you need our help.

Employment tribunal time limit extension

You may wonder if there’s any deviation from this three month time period for general claims not outlined above and you should be aware of the role of Acas.

It’s possible to extend Acas employment tribunal time limits because of the early conciliation process it provides.

Since May 2014, it’s now compulsory for the majority of claims—that’s the step before they proceed to an employment tribunal.

This is important as reaching an agreement through the service Acas provides can help you to avoid a potentially costly tribunal claim.

It’s possible to extend employment tribunal claims through the early conciliation process. That happens in two ways:

  1. Either the period between the first contact of Acas and the receipt of the early conciliation certificate will not count.
  2. In situations where the time limit would have expired between the first contact of Acas and one month after receipt of the certificate, the time limit extends to one month (after receipt of the certificate).

In addition, tribunals have discretion to order an extended period.

Within which, proceedings brought where it’s satisfied it wasn’t “reasonably practicable” for the complaint to be presented before the end of the relevant period.

In claims for discrimination, the test is whether it is “just and equitable to do so”. Tribunals, however, are reluctant to extend time limits except in special circumstances.

Employment tribunal appeal time limit

Lodge notices of appeal against the decision of a tribunal within 42 days on which written or extended reasons for the decisions “were sent” to the parties by the employment tribunal.

Where written reasons were not reserved or requested, the time limit is 42 days from the date the written record of the judgment was sent to the parties.

An extension to this time limit will happen only in exceptional circumstances.

Need our help?

We can assist you with an employment tribunal—contact us for immediate support: 0800 028 2420.

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