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ET1 Accepted out of Time Due to Bad ACAS Advice

In DHL Supply Chain v Fazackerley the EAT held that it was it reasonably practicable for an employee to present a claim for unfair dismissal in time, when bad ACAS advice caused the delay in submission of the form.

The Claimant was dismissed for gross misconduct on 15th March 2017. The advice received from ACAS was to appeal and to exhaust the internal appeal process prior to bringing any claim. The appeal hearing did not take place until 22nd June 2017 and the Claimant issued an ET1 on 19th July 2017 by which time the Claimant was out of time.

The EAT stated that the decision is not something that will be decided for all cases such as these and specifically pointed out that a different judge might, legitimately, have taken a different view. This is especially so if the Claimant had taken advice from a Solicitor instead of a Government Body.

Our advice is, whilst it is good practice to exhaust any internal process, this should not be done so without having regard to the 3 month limitation period to issue an ET1. Claims should be issued in time whilst the appeal process is ongoing (if necessary). You should seek independent advice as soon as you have been dismissed and not wait for the appeal process to complete regardless of any advice to the contrary.

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