Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In this post we’re going to examine the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case of Horwood v Lincolnshire County Council, a case revolving the jurisdiction of the Employment Tribunal to hear a constructive dismissal case where the complaint had been submitted to the Employment Tribunal one day out of time.

The facts in Horwood v Lincolnshire County Council

Mrs Horwood (“the Appellant”) commenced employment with Lincolnshire County Council (“the Respondent”) in 1985 and was employed as Practice Manager of the Respondent’s Older People’s Services Team. She was disciplined in 2009 because of a colleague’s allegations and demoted to a less senior position with a lower salary in September 2009. She was unhappy with the investigation and disciplinary process and therefore appealed. Her appeal was dismissed on 12 January 2010. She felt that the Respondent had committed a fundamental breach of her contract of employment and wrote to the Respondent on 28 January 2010 stating that she was resigning “with immediate effect”. This was read on 29 January 2010. There was subsequently confusion as to when the effective date of termination (“EDT”) fell as the Appellant was informed by the Respondent that her employment terminated on 2 February 2010, giving a limitation date of 1 May 2010. However, if the termination was effective as of 29 January 2010 then the limitation date was 28 April 2010. The Appellant submitted her ET1 claim form on 28 April 2010 by post and this was received on 29 April 2010 by the Employment Tribunal. The claim was dismissed as out of time at a Pre Hearing Review at the Leicester Employment Tribunal. The Appellant appealed this finding.

The law relating to constructive dismissal and the effective date of termination

This post will focus on the issues of the effective date of termination and limitation dates rather than the law of constructive dismissal as a whole.

In cases of constructive dismissal (employee resignations) the effective date of dismissal falls upon the date that the employee’s resignation is communicated to his or her employer. If the resignation is verbal then this is the date on which a representative first heard of the employee’s resignation. If the resignation is written (as is usual) then the effective date of dismissal is the date on which a representative of the employer first read the letter of resignation. Note the emphasis on representative – it is not necessary that the letter of resignation is read by the person that it is addressed to, simply that any representative of the employer has read the letter.

Further, the fact that a representative of the employer’s is mistaken as to the effective date of termination does not change the effective date of termination unless the parties specifically agree to a changed date.

Regarding limitation dates, the limitation date for a claim of constructive dismissal is three months less one day from the date of the dismissal. Therefore if the employee resigns on 2 January 2012 they have until 1 April 2012 to submit a complaint to the Employment Tribunal. If a complaint is submitted after the 1 April 2012 by the employee then the Employment Tribunal will not have jurisdiction to hear their claim unless it was not reasonably practicable to submit the claim at an earlier date (a high threshold normally).

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment in Horwood v Lincolnshire County Council

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the Claimant’s appeal on the grounds that:

–          The Employment Judge was correct to conclude that on the facts the effective date of termination was the earlier date (29 January 2010) and that therefore the claim had been submitted one day outside the limitation date

–          The Claimant had not demonstrated on the balance of probabilities that it had not been reasonably practicable to submit her claim within the relevant time periods

Our thoughts on Horwood v Lincolnshire County Council

Issues such as these are more common than one would think in the Employment Tribunal. It is quite easy to become wrapped up in the detail of a case and not think clearly about all the issues at hand. However, this case demonstrates that failure to think clearly and logically about such an important issue as the date of termination of the contract of employment (and therefore the limitation date) can have fatal consequences for a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

Our recommendations in such (indeed all) cases are:

–          If there is possible confusion as to the effective date of termination, query this with the Respondent. If the Respondent agrees to a particular date as the effective date of termination then there is certainty for both sides

–          Always prepare and submit the claim well in advance of a limitation date so that such issues are avoided

–          Always submit a claim form by email so that there is certainty that a claim has been received on a particular date by the Employment Tribunal

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

4.76 Average

124 Reviews

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 4 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 5 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 6 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 6 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 6 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 6 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 6 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 6 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 6 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 6 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 7 months ago