How important is timing in Employment Law claims?
Posted on 10th May 2021 at 11:43
Timing can be vital to your employment law claim. There is a delicate balance between acting swiftly, but not rushing; searching for an employment law solicitor you trust but leaving them time to prepare a strong case.
The time limit on your claim
The time limit on making your claim will depend on what you are claiming for. For most employment law issues you have 3 months to make a claim. The day of the incident on which the claim is based counts as day 1 of your limit – which is why you will often see solicitors refer to 3 months minus 1 day from the date of your claim.
While it is important to understand this distinction, ideally you would not be making your claim on the last possible day.
Factors to consider when calculating your time limit
It is sensible to make full use of your employer’s processes, for example, by appealing against a dismissal or the outcome of a grievance. However, your deadline will still be calculated based on the date your employment rights were breached – appealing does not extend the time limit. You may wish to begin consulting with a solicitor alongside making use of the appeals process.
Most claims to an Employment Tribunal are now made online, but you can send a physical claim form. If you choose this option, you must factor postage times into your time limit. The claim form (also known as an ET1) must be received by the tribunal, not just posted, by the deadline for making a claim.
If your claim is for a series of incidents the time limit can be difficult to work out. Legal advice can be very helpful here, as your solicitor will be able to analyse the facts of your case and advise you on the relevant time limit. In most cases you must apply to ACAS for Early Conciliation before submitting a claim to a tribunal. Your time limit will be extended to account for the time taken by ACAS Early Conciliation. At the end of this process, you will receive a certificate confirming compliance and you may then issue proceedings. When the Early Conciliation Certificate is produced the time limit for your claim is recalculated. The formula for recalculating time can be a little tricky so it is important to make sure you have properly identified the new limitation date.
Some types of claim – for example wrongful dismissal - can be made to the court rather than the tribunal usually with a longer time limit for claiming. A solicitor can advise on your options, and the best place to make your claim.
Giving yourself time to make the best decisions
Making a timely claim will give both you and you solicitor the best chances of achieving a good outcome for you. There are several ways of resolving claims before they reach an employment tribunal. It is best to give yourself time to consider these options rather than rush important decisions.
Gathering evidence to support your claim often takes longer than you expect. You will also need to leave time for your solicitor to consider this evidence and apply the law to the facts of your case.
Legal advice can help you to make a confident and informed decision about your next move. A solicitor can explain whether you have a legal claim, and how you could go about resolving it. They will help you to understand the pros and cons of each option, as well as the likelihood of achieving the outcome you want.
Contact us to find out how we can help you get the best outcome in your dispute.
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