Effective date of Termination was when the employee was notified of her dismissal by her Employment Solicitor.

In the case of employee dismissal the employee is normally given three months less one day from the effective date of termination to present a claim to the Employment Tribunal. If the claim is not submitted in time then the Tribunal may reject it.

Many employees may assume that the date on which their employment terminates is the date on which they receive the dismissal letter or the date of the letter itself. This is not necessarily the case.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently held that there is nothing to prevent the effective date of termination of employment occurring when an employee is informed of the fact of his or her dismissal by a third party.

Employment Appeal Tribunal – Robinson v Bowskill

In the case of Robinson v Bowskill and others practising as Fairhill Medical Practice (EAT 0313/12) the employee had been employed in an administrative role for over 40 years.  An investigation took place into allegations of serious misconduct against her and she was signed off sick with depression. She instructed a solicitor to act on her behalf and the solicitor wrote to the employer asking that all correspondence be sent to her rather than to the employee.

A disciplinary hearing took place in the absence of the employee who remained on sick leave.  The employer informed the employee’s solicitor that the decision had been made to dismiss her for gross misconduct and that a letter was being sent to the employee. The solicitor rang the employee the next day to tell her of her dismissal. The employee received the letter from her employer the following day.

The employee subsequently submitted an employment tribunal claim but it was held to have been submitted outside of the 3 month time limit and the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear it.

The tribunal held that the effective date of termination was either the date when her solicitor was told of the decision to dismiss or the date when she was told by her solicitor of her dismissal. Both these dates were before she had received her employer’s letter.

On appeal to the EAT, the employee argued that the effective date of termination could not be before she had had a reasonable opportunity to read the letter of dismissal. The EAT held that the tribunal had been right to reject the unfair dismissal claim on the ground that it had been presented out of time.

If you are considering submitting a claim to the employment tribunal please contact one of our employment lawyers for specialist advice.