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Jun 2015

Unfair dismissal claim wrongly struck out

A former immigration officer, who delayed nearly six years before lodging an unfair dismissal complaint against the Home Office, has had her compensation claim reinstated after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) accepted that she may have been too mentally unwell to take action any earlier.

The woman resigned in circumstances which she claimed amounted to constructive unfair dismissal. She should have lodged her claim within three months, but did not do so for nearly six years. In those circumstances, her claim was struck out summarily by an Employment Tribunal (ET) as an abuse of process.

In upholding her challenge to that decision, the EAT noted that, shortly before her resignation, the woman had been admitted to a psychiatric unit after suffering an acute psychotic episode. There was evidence from a consultant psychiatrist that, for several years, she had been too unwell to conduct legal proceedings. In those circumstances, the ET had been wrong to take the ‘drastic’ step of dismissing her claim without giving her the opportunity to make representations. The matter was sent back to the ET for reconsideration.

Contact: David Hacker

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