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Effective Dates of Termination…Effective from When?

The Effective Date of Termination (“EDT”) is the term used for the date an employee’s period of continuous service ends; this can be the date on which the employee’s notice expires (where the employee has been terminated with notice) or the date on which termination takes effect (where the employee has been dismissed without notice).

Establishing the EDT is crucial for determining the time limit an employee will need to adhere to in order to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. There can however often be some dispute over when the EDT took place, with many historic employment cases having been centred on the issue.

Most recently the question arose in the recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) case of Robinson v Fairhill Medical Practice as to what the position would be when an employee’s solicitor informs them of their dismissal a day before the employee reads a dismissal letter, whether the EDT is the date on which the solicitor informed them of the dismissal.

The EAT found in the affirmative, that the EDT was indeed the date on which the solicitor informed their client of their dismissal.

The general facts of the case were that the claimant had not attended a disciplinary hearing and was communicating via her solicitor due to illness. On 6 July the employer emailed the solicitor to inform them that their client was to be summarily dismissed following the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. The solicitor then conveyed this information to their client the following day on 7 July. The letter itself was sent from the employer with the employee receiving this on 8 July. The Claimant subsequently sought to claim for unfair dismissal.

At a preliminary hearing to decide whether the claimant’s claim was in time, an Employment Tribunal (“ET”) found that the EDT was 7 July, meaning that the claim for unfair dismissal was struck out as being out of time, given that it had now been deemed to have been presented a day late on 7 October.

On appeal the EAT considered the authoritative decision in Gisda Cyf v Barratt which since it was rendered in 2010 has dictated that an employee’s dismissal is effective only once it is effectively communicated to that employee.

Applied to the Robinson case the EAT held that communication of the claimant’s dismissal, although via a third party in the form of a solicitor, was effective and valid on 7 July making this the EDT, thus the claimant’s appeal failed.

While it can be imagined that this was taken as rather unpleasant news, the claimant did have receive the consolation prize of having their disability discrimination claim proceed on just and equitable grounds.

Conclusion

From the perspective of an employee seeking to progress a claim for unfair dismissal claim against their former employer, the lesson here is quite simple: get the claim in as soon as possible – where there are multiple possible EDT’s in play, assume that the earlier date is the correct date.

If you have a question relating to whether or not a claim has been submitted on time or when your EDT is please contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk


Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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