07 April 2017 #Employment
In general, claimants are only allowed to bring Employment Tribunal claims after submitting an ACAS EC notification form and receiving an EC certificate. Last week, we blogged on an ET decision that only time spent in ACAS Early Conciliation (“EC”) after a limitation period starts running extends the time limit for bringing a claim.
In a different case, HMRC v Garau, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now confirmed that a second period of ACAS Early Conciliation (“EC”) in the same matter does not extend time limits.
Mr Garau submitted an ACAS EC notification form during his 3-month notice period but prior to his dismissal by HMRC on 30 December 2015. No agreement was reached and an EC certificate was issued on 4 November 2015. His deadline for bringing a claim was therefore 29 March 2016.
On 28 March 2016, he submitted a 2nd ACAS EC notification form in the same matter. A 2nd EC certificate was issued on 25 April 2016. His ET claim was submitted on 25 May 2016. The Employment Tribunal decided that, as the clock had stopped during the second EC period and ACAS had issued a valid certificate, the claim was in time.
However, the EAT decided that, because it is only mandatory for a Claimant to notify ACAS once under the EC scheme, it is only the first EC certificate in any matter which can extend the time limits for bringing an ET claim. This meant that the second EC certificate could not modify the limitation period, which expired on 29 March 2016.
This case again demonstrates that all parties should be very cautious when working out time limits. For further information please contact our employment team.