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A warning to all employees - seek legal advice from the start

View profile for David Farrugia
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It is imperative that employees complete both the ACAS Conciliation Form and Claim Form correctly when pursuing a claim against a former employer. Any error can become a major issue when applying to the employment tribunal, as demonstrated in a recent case where a simple mistake in the ACAS Conciliation Form resulted in the dismissal of the entire claim.

The employee (who had originally made several claims against his previous employer including constructive dismissal) had failed to consult a solicitor when completing the ACAS Early Conciliation Form. On the Early Conciliation Form, the employee named the actual director Mr Ahmed as the prospective Respondent. The employee later sought advice from a solicitor who rightly named the company, SNA Transport Limited as the Respondent on the subsequent Claim Form.

The employment tribunal rejected the employee's claim on the basis that he named the Respondent incorrectly which was recorded on the Early Conciliation Certificate. The employee made an application to appeal this decision and the appeal was rejected Employment Appeal Tribunal ("EAT").

The EAT followed a two stage test. First, was it a minor error and secondly whether or not it was in the interest of justice to allow the claim to proceed.

The EAT held that by incorrectly naming the prospective Respondent which was recorded on the Early Conciliation Certificate was not a minor breach and therefore rejected the employee's appeal.

This EAT's decision is a strong warning to employees pursuing a claim against their previous employer. The lesson is this... any delay in obtaining legal advice could have a detrimental affect on your case in the future.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. At Gepp & Sons Solicitors we can advise on all aspects of company and employment law. For more information and guidance, please contact Alexandra Dean on 01245 228141 or email deana@gepp.co.uk