Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The facts of Ashton & Anor v Burbage and District Constitutional Club

Mr and Mrs Ashton (“the Claimants”) were employed by the Burbage and District Constitutional Club (“the Respondent”) as stewards prior to their dismissal in 2010. They subsequently filed complaints at the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and unlawful deductions from their wages by the Respondent. The Respondent in return contended that the Claimants had been fairly dismissed for redundancy and that no money was owed.

The Employment Tribunal hearing (“the Hearing”) to hear the claims for unfair dismissal and unfair deductions from wages was due to be held on 28 & 29 March 2011. Prior to the Hearing the Claimants attempted to postpone the Hearing on the basis that new documents had been disclosed to them on 4 March 2011. This particular application failed. However, on 18 March 2011 the Claimants wrote to the Employment Tribunal again applying for a postponement – this time on the basis that the Claimants were suffering with stress and were too ill to attend the Hearing on the 28th March 2011. The application was accompanied by a letter from the Claimant’s GP in which he stated that the Claimants were suffering considerable stress and anxiety and that the Hearing should be postponed for at least 2 months so that their stress levels could be reduced.

The Employment Judge dealing with the application rejected the application as it was not stated that the Claimants were medically unfit to attend the Hearing.

The Claimants again attempted on 25 March 2011 to postpone the Hearing, enclosing with their application a further letter from their GP stating that they were medically unfit to attend the Hearing. The relevant sick notes were also enclosed. The Employment Judge again refused the application on the basis that it would cause prejudice to the Respondent and that there was no likelihood that delay would make the Claimant’s position easier.

The Claimants then indicated that they would not be attending the Hearing because of their ill health and in fact did not do so. The Employment Tribunal hearing was in fact adjourned because of the attempt by the Respondent to introduce a new reason for the Claimants’ dismissal – that there was Some Other Substantial Reason for their dismissal and their dismissal was therefore not an unfair dismissal.

The Claimants appealed against the last rejection of their application (dated 25 March 2011) to postpone the Employment Tribunal hearing.

The law

The Claimants argued that under the principles espoused in Teinaz  v Wandsworth London Borough Council [2002] they were being denied justice as they were justifiably indisposed through no fault of their own to attend the Employment Tribunal hearing on 28 March 2011. Further, they had shown a genuine need for the postponement in the letter from their GP (given to the Employment Tribunal on 25March 2011) which stated their symptoms, the effect of the symptoms, and the need for a postponement.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment in Ashton & Anor v Burbage and District Constitutional Club

The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Claimants had shown genuine grounds for a postponement which were not the result of their own fault. The Employment Judge had either not seen the letter or had not attached sufficient weight to it, and on that basis the application to postpone the Employment Tribunal should not have been rejected. The decision to refuse the adjournment of the Tribunal should be set aside and that the claim should be remitted to a different Employment Tribunal.

Our thoughts

Claimants seeking a postponement should:

  • (if possible) inform the Employment Tribunal well in advance of the need for a postponement
  • Provide suitable, genuine and justified reasons for the need for a postponement (demonstrating that the need for the postponement is not their fault)
  • If the postponement is needed because the Claimant is medically unfit to attend the Employment Tribunal, provide a strong and suitable letter from their GP detailing the need for the postponement and (preferably) how long the postponement should be for

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.62 Average

53 Reviews

Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 3 days ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 5 days ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 5 days ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

They are busy people but manage well so generally I would recommend them.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very efficient and professional service from my first phone call making an enquiry. Timescales of the matter in hand were met and within the agreed budget. Would highly recommend Redmans

Posted 3 weeks ago

Lisa B

Really very good service, always available to answer questions, provide my with any information I needed to make informed decisions.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Offered good support and advice

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris reviewed and managed my compromise agreement swiftly, accurately, helpfully, and on budget. His input on key non-compete clauses was valuable, his communications were clear and concise, and he was always swift in responding. Highly recommended.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Gurbir C

Excellent legal advice service.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Tim

I found Redmans to be very helpful and efficient in conducting my case which was concluded in a timely and diligent manner

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman Solicitors to be very good and worked very well to an extremely tight timescale. I would happily recommend them again especially Rana.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I received excellent, knowledgeable and critically timely support from Chris regarding my settlement agreement, and would wholeheartedly recommend Chris in these matters.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Katelyn

The solicitor communicated well with me and made sure I understood everything. He did everything needed for my settlement agreement and tried to get the wording changed in my favour too.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided excellent services

Posted 4 weeks ago

Sibel U

Excellent service

Posted 4 weeks ago

Peter S

I was very happy with the level of advise I received from Caroline Lewis, and a very professional service fron Chris, The advice given really helped me and I was comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. I would be more than happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Derek S

I very much appreciated the help provided by Redmans in the settlement agreement agreed with my former employer.

Posted 1 month ago

Waseem M

It was the first ime I used Redmans Solicitors and to be honest, thety were amazing. Rana Tandon and Chris Hadrill were out of this world. They made the process as simply and smooth as can be. Thank you so much for all your support over the last week.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Worked very quickly considering right deadlines - and gave great advice

Posted 1 month ago