Time Limits For Making Your Discrimination Claim In an Employment Tribunal?

In the UK, there are strict, short time limits for making employment tribunal claims. However, different claims have different time-limits. Usually, you would have a period of three months less one day, from the actual date of the discrimination which is being reported in the claim.

Before making a claim, however, you must submit a request to ACAS seeking early conciliation. Also, you need to fill out the ET1 form (also known as the tribunal claim form) and ensures that it reaches the tribunal within the time limit.

During the conciliation process, the usual time limit pauses and may get extended. Overall, you must submit your claim within the stipulated time limits, or the tribunal may reject it immediately.

Discrimination and Appeals

In case an individual suffers discrimination in the workplace, they need to make sure that they have supporting evidence in the form of emails, notices, memos or texts, along with the details of the discriminatory act. Furthermore, if they wish to complain about more than one instance of discrimination within the same claim, they must calculate the time from each case. This is because the start date of making a claim would be from the date of the earliest occurrence of the discrimination.

Moreover, there may be situations, in which, the discrimination amounts to a continuing action. In such cases, the period to make a claim continues to run until the claimant leaves the employment, or the discriminatory behaviour stops. An employment tribunal also has limited discretion to allow in claims (those outside the time-limit). To do this, the tribunal may consider various factors including how late the claim is, why was it not reported earlier and whether the defendant is prejudiced by the lateness.

For example, if any new evidence comes to light after the time limit expires, of which the claimant knew nothing about, the tribunal might accept the claim. Therefore, in case you were made ‘redundant’ while on paternity/maternity leave and then discover some months after your dismissal that the post was not redundant, the tribunal may consider whether it was judicious for you to realise that you had a claim, before these new facts were made evident.

However, if you are going through an internal disciplinary or grievance procedure, this does not extend the time limit to make an employment tribunal claim. Therefore, you should be aware of the long-drawn-out procedures by your employer, which may be an attempt to make you exceed the time limit for making a claim.

How to Determine the Time Limit In Your Case

In most cases, it can be difficult for employees to determine the exact date and time when the discrimination happened. There could be an isolated act of bias, such as denied a promotion or a pay reduction, or behaviour that continues over time.

According to reputable employment law solicitors, if your employer decides to make a decision that is unfair to you, the time limit to make the discrimination claim would start from the date when the decision was finalised and not when you were notified of the same. Examples of how does the time limit apply to your case may include the following:

Discrimination Spanning Over A Period Of Time

In case, the discrimination comprises not one particular but several acts of unfavourable treatment spread over a certain period, the time limit for making a claim would begin once the period ends (the discrimination is said to be continuing, in this case). Subsequently, the tribunal would review whether:

  • The acts of discrimination, which you experienced, were somehow connected or linked to one another;
  • if there is conclusive evidence of an ongoing situation of discrimination or a continuing state of affairs at your place of work;
  • there is a continuing relationship between yourself and your employer (in case your employment is not terminated)

Furthermore, if the incidents are isolated or unconnected, the discrimination would not be considered as ‘continuing’ and the time limit would vary for each incident.

Discrimination Where There Are Ongoing Consequences

There may be situations, whereby, you would experience an isolated or one-off act of discrimination at your workplace, which in turn, has ongoing consequences. In such cases, the time limit of making a claim would start from the incident, rather than the continuing consequences.

For example, if your employer reviews your role and decides to cut down your pay, the time limit would start from the time when your employer decided to reduce the payment. Here, the decision would have ongoing effects, because, you would continue to receive less pay, while the decision of reviewing your job role would be considered as an isolated or one-off act.

In Case The Employer Fails To Make Adjustments

In some cases, you may suffer discrimination in the workplace because your employer fails to do something that should have been done earlier (for example, make reasonable adjustments). Here, the period would start when your employer decides to not doing anything, either after a significant period or immediately.