Applying for unfair dismissal within the right amount of time

Erin Dean (Student)

When claiming for unfair dismissal, a claim must be brought in the Employment Tribunal within 3 months of the date of dismissal. If the claim is made after this, then the Employment tribunal wont hear the claim and the chances of the employee receiving any compensation is very low. The fact that the employee did not know about this time limit will not be any defence.

This happened to Miss S Dillon who was a solicitor claiming unfair dismissal against the Crown Prosecution Service. She applied five months after the date of the dismissal but was told her claim was too late. The law on unfair dismissal comes from section 94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Miss Dillon’s argument for the late claim was that it was not reasonably practicable for her to present her claim any sooner and she also thought that she had 3 years to bring the claim which is the limitation period for personal injury.

The judge dismissed her application as he stated given her experience and contacts as a solicitor, she should have checked the time limit. Judge Woffenden decided that Dillon was not trying to avoid litigation by looking into different remedies but had just not even considered going to court. The facts were that she had brought her claim too late and that it was dismissed.

It is important that in unfair dismissal claims, the judge uses and applies employment law correctly so that neither the employee nor employer are wrongfully accused. A lot of the information on unfair dismissal and grievance process can be found on the ACAS website.

Here at SULAC we can advise on all aspects of employment law. If you would like an appointment please telephone 01782 294800 or email

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