Two Police Community Support Officers have had their Employment Tribunal claims thrown out after it emerged that they filed their claims out of time.
Joy Shoker, 24, and Khalid Akhtar, 42, were employed by West Midlands Police as PCSO’s. However, in August 2011 they found nude images of a colleague (“Ms X”) on her mobile phone and distributed them to a group of friends and colleagues. Ms X was then subjected to humiliating text messages and bullying at work and complained to her superiors. Following Ms X’s complaint Ms Shoker and Mr Akhtar were dismissed from their roles at West Midlands Police on 23 August 2011.
Following their dismissal Mr Akhtar and Ms Shoker submitted claims to the Employment Tribunal or racial discrimination and breach of contract. However, these claims were only filed in March 2012. The limitation date for their respective claims fell on 22 November 2011 and the claims were therefore out of time. The Employment Tribunal dismissed the claims at a Pre Hearing Review with the Employment Judge, Mr Laurie Anstis, stating “It was reasonably practicable for proceedings to have been brought within the time limit. The tribunal cannot consider the claims any further, and so they must be dismissed.”
Time limits in Employment Tribunal claims
If you think that you have been unfairly dismissed, wrongfully dismissed or discriminated against then you have three months less one day from the date of the incident (i.e. your dismissal or the last date of discrimination) to submit your complaint (on an ET1 form) to the Employment Tribunal.
Mr Y has a disciplinary hearing for misconduct on 2 December 2011. He is dismissed from his employment at the conclusion of this hearing but appeals. His appeal hearing is held on 20 December 2011 and rejected. Mr Y’s time limit (should he wish to make a claim for unfair dismissal) would be 1 March 2012 – 3 months less one day from the date of his dismissal. Appeal hearings are not relevant for the purposes of calculating limitation dates in the Employment Tribunal.
As can be seen above, if Claimants miss the limitation date for their Employment Tribunal claim then it is likely that the Respondent will seek to have the claim dismissed as it is time-barred. The Employment Tribunal (again, as above) will only allow out-of-time claims to continue if it wasn’t reasonably practicable for the Claimant to submit the claim within the required time frame. This is generally only the case in exceptional circumstances.
If you want to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal and have doubts as to whether your claim would be within the time limits then you should consult a solicitor for employment law advice.