A case reported by the Plymouth Herald demonstrates why individuals and businesses should seek legal advice and appeal Employment Tribunal judgments that they’re unhappy with straight away.
The news report covers a recent Employment Tribunal claim made by Mr Martin Withers against The Glassblowing House Limited. The claim, apparently based on disability discrimination and an unfair dismissal by the business, was successful and Mr Withers was awarded almost £60,000 in compensation. The Glassblowing House Limited subsequently went into administration and was bought by Barbican Restaurants Limited, a company which has the same address and director as The Glassblowing House Limited. There was no immediate appeal against the Employment Tribunal judgment but, after Barbican Restaurants Limited acquired The Glassblowing House Limited, an appeal was lodged. However, this was lodged 105 days out of time and was rejected as out of time by the Employment Appeal Tribunal as the appellant could not demonstrate why it was not reasonably practicable for it to file the appeal in time.
The actions of The Glassblowing House Limited in attempting to appeal the Employment Tribunal judgment demonstrates why individuals and businesses must act swiftly if they wish to appeal. In order to appeal against an Employment Tribunal judgment a “Notice of Appeal” must be submitted within 42 days from the date that the written reasons for the decision are sent to the parties. The time limit is very strictly enforced – if an appeal is submitted even a few minutes late then the Employment Appeal Tribunal will probably reject the appeal. Potential appellants should therefore seek to file their appeal well in advance of the deadline for submission. Should the application be made outside of the deadline then the party seeking to appeal should be able to demonstrate why it was not reasonably practicable for them to submit their appeal in time. Again, this is a strict test and exceptional circumstances will normally have to apply.
Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If you wish to appeal an Employment Tribunal judgment then there are strict deadlines for doing so. It is recommended that expert advice from a specialist employment solicitor or barrister is sought and that the deadlines for filing are diarised as soon as possible. Getting something as important like this wrong can – as the Glassblowing House Limited have found out – have serious consequences.”
Redmans Solicitors are settlement agreement solicitors and offer advice to employees and employers on unfair dismissal claims