Ian advises whether postal strikes affect employment law disputes
Posted on 14th December 2022 at 14:01
Our Principal Solicitor Ian Jones has spoken to People Management Magazine about the postal strikes, and what HR needs to consider to avoid potential issues.
With regards to documents being delayed. Ian says time limits usually run from the date of the letter, and “if postal delays affect delivery within the time limit, then parties may be in breach through no fault of their own.” However, “the tribunal has power to extend time, either on its own initiative or on application by a party, even if the time for compliance has expired... I don’t foresee too much difficulty in getting an extension of time, provided they act promptly to request one.”
To avoid issues, employers should follow the Acas Code of Practice on discipline and grievances at work as closely as possible. “For disciplinary procedures in particular, employees should be given reasonable time to prepare before a hearing. This may not be possible if the employer has used post to communicate and there are delays. In such cases, employers should consider putting back a hearing or, in the event of an appeal deadline (for example, to appeal against a disciplinary sanction), extending the time to appeal.”
Failing to act reasonably could put the employer at risk of adverse findings. “In the case of dismissal, failure to act reasonably by extending time limits could contribute to a finding of unfair dismissal and, in other matters, acting unreasonably may amount to a breach of contract and could lead to a claim of constructive unfair dismissal by the employee.”
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