Early Conciliation Certificate Covered Constructive Dismissal Occurring After Certificate Issued


3 mins

Posted on 28 Sep 2016

An employee could bring a claim of constructive dismissal, even though the early conciliation certificate was issued before she resigned. 

Speedread

An employee could bring a claim of constructive dismissal, even though the early conciliation certificate was issued before she resigned. An early conciliation certificate is not limited to events and allegations predating the commencement (or conclusion) of the early conciliation process. Provided that there is a link between the matters raised in early conciliation and those raised in the claim form, the early conciliation requirements will have been met.

Facts

In Compass Group UK & Ireland v Mrs T Morgan, Mrs Morgan, who has an anxiety disorder, lodged a grievance complaining that her employer had instructed her to work at an alternative location in a less senior position. She lodged the grievance on 13 October 2014 and started early conciliation on 14 November 2014. Acas issued an early conciliation certificate on 3 January 2015. Two months later she resigned and lodged claims for constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. 

The employer argued in its defence that that the unfair dismissal claim was not properly instituted. Before a prospective claimant presents a claim relating to any matter, they have to provide certain information about the matter to Acas for early conciliation purposes. The requirement had not been met as dismissal had not occurred at the time of conciliation.

The employment tribunal disagreed. The employer appealed, arguing that a claimant should not be able to raise in their claim form any cause of action occurring after the date of the early conciliation certificate, even where it relates to facts occurring during the early conciliation process. 

Decision

The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected the employer’s appeal. There is nothing in the operation of the legislation which limits the scope of a particular early conciliation certificate to events and allegations predating the commencement (or conclusion) of the early conciliation process. 

It is sufficient that there are or were matters between the parties whose names and addresses were notified to Acas and that they are related to the proceedings instituted. In this case, the employment judge had correctly determined that there was a sufficient connection between the actual matters complained about in the claim form and the matters that were in dispute at the time of the early conciliation process. 

Implications

While a link must be established between matters raised in early conciliation and those in the claim form, the early conciliation requirements do not prevent an employee from bringing a claim which did not exist at the commencement (or conclusion) of the early conciliation process.

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