ACAS Early Conciliation and the impact on an employees claim
If the respondent employer named by the employee on the claim form (ET1) is considered substantially different to the name given on the ACAS early conciliation certificate (EC certificate), the ET1 will be rejected. This is what happened in the recent case of Giny v SNA Transport Limited UKEAT/0317/16.
Under the Employment Tribunal rules, rule 12(2A, a claim will be rejected by an employment tribunal if the name of the respondent on the claim form is not the same as on the EC certificate. The exception to this is where the judge considers the claimant made a minor error in relation to a name and address. If so, the judge must consider whether it would be in the interests of justice to allow the claim to proceed.
Mr Giny was employed by SNA Transport Ltd (SNA). He resigned and claimed constructive dismissal following alleged bullying by SNA’s sole director, Mr Ahmed. Before he issued his claim form (ET1), Mr Giny telephoned ACAS to give the information required for early conciliation and mistakenly named Mr Ahmed as the potential respondent. When he issued his ET1, Mr Giny correctly identified SNA as the respondent.
The Employment Tribunal rejected Mr Giny’s claim because the name of the respondent on the ET1 (SNA) was different to that named on the early conciliation certificate (Mr Ahmed). Mr Giny applied for reconsideration of the decision, but the tribunal rejected his application on the basis that the difference in name on the ET1 was more than a minor error. Mr Giny appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT dismissed Mr Giny’s appeal, stating that there was no error in law and the Tribunal had been entitled to find that Mr Giny’s mistake in confusing a director over a company was not a “minor error”.
Points to Note
• The EAT refused to rule that it would never be considered a “minor error” to name a natural person (an individual) on an EC certificate and a legal person (such as a company) on an ET1 like Mr Giny had done.
• The decision highlights the harsh application of rule 12 in cases where an employee names the wrong employer, even where, as in Mr Giny’s case, the employee is initially unrepresented.
Action to take
1. This case is a useful reminder of the importance of accurately completing ACAS early conciliation notifications and ET1 forms.
2. For employers, the case highlights the need to check names and addresses on ACAS early conciliation forms and ET1 claim forms. If mistakes have been made, this could present an opportunity to get a claim rejected at the early stages of proceedings.
Giny v SNA Transport Limited – Employment Appeal Tribunal
This update has been prepared by Miranda Amos
Don’t forget getting advice from a Solicitor does not have to be complicated or costly!
Contact us on: 01983 897003, 0238 982006 or 01722 653001