伦敦塔门市场有限公司v哈里斯 the Court of Appeal held that a claimant was entitled to a three-month time extension to bring her 不公平解雇 claim, since she had reasonable grounds to believe that a dismissal procedure was ongoing upon the expiry of the original time limit. The Court reached this conclusion despite the fact that the claimant had not 上诉ed internally against her dismissal under any formal process, but rather had raised a post-employment ‘grievance’ with her employer.

法院判决了什么?

哈里斯太太’裁员因裁员而终止。她决定不向雇主提出上诉’的内部程序,因为她认为选择过程已正确应用。然而,解雇生效后,她得知在该程序进行任何评估之前,她已被裁定为裁员的对象。因此,她遇到了人力资源经理,后者同意向她提供评估表的副本以及and选过程中使用的其他信息。人力资源经理’s记录表明,工会将审查表格,以决定程序是否公平,并且会通知雇主是否将进一步处理此事。 Three months after her dismissal, 哈里斯太太 wrote to her ex-employer raising a "formal 委屈" challenging the dismissal and requested a further meeting. The employer said that the 委屈 procedure did not apply (as she had already been dismissed) and it did not have to deal with her 委屈.

哈里斯太太 commenced 不公平解雇 proceedings more than two months after expiry of the time limit. Under Regulation 15(2) of the 就业机会Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 the time to commence 不公平解雇 proceedings can be extended if an employee has reasonable grounds for believing a dismissal or disciplinary procedure was being followed at the time the normal time limit expired. The Tribunal concluded that 哈里斯太太’ letter raising a ‘grievance’没有被解雇为根据驳回程序提出的上诉请求,因此该程序已经结束。因此,该索赔因时间过长而被驳回。

The 就业机会Appeal Tribunal (EAT) disagreed, holding that the Tribunal had focused too much on the question of whether 哈里斯太太 had raised an internal 上诉. 在stead it should have considered whether 哈里斯太太 reasonably believed that there was a dismissal procedure which was ongoing. EAT认为她这样做了,并牢记她的雇主如何跟进她的担忧,因此应该能够利用法定的时间延长。

The Court of Appeal, by a majority, agreed with the EAT. It said the Tribunal should ask itself first whether the claimant had a belief that a dismissal or disciplinary procedure (whether 法定的 or otherwise) was being followed, and second were there reasonable grounds for that belief? 在 this case, the fact that post-dismissal the employer conceded to 哈里斯太太’请求开会,恢复了原本不公开的程序。 结果,条例15(2)可以用来延长时间,她的不公正解雇要求可能会继续。 Keen LJ评论说,大多数员工都无法立即获得熟练的法律咨询。因此,重要的是法院避免采用过分的技术手段。他认为,根据《规章》的措词,显然索赔人’我的信念不一定是 法定的 程序被遵循,仅仅是 一个程序 被跟踪。

这个决定对雇主意味着什么

该案确认,只要雇员认为正在遵循某个程序,则不必是雇主’内部程序。它进一步确认了法定程序不应过于严格地应用或以过分的技术性方式来解释,并表明要求雇员遵守法定争议解决程序的门槛较低。雇主应考虑"grievance"关于解雇以评估其是否确实是"appeal"反对解雇,并进行相应处理。

该案提出的问题是,您是否应因此将任何形式的反对解雇的书面质疑视为上诉,以免引起不公正的解雇?谨慎的做法是将雇用终止后3个月内收到的任何书面质疑作为上诉对待(即使在您公司的管辖下可能没有时间)’上诉程序)。 或者,更健壮但仍然正确的方法是,响应任何此类通信,向个人发出明确的消息,告知个人,如果申诉是雇主解雇或打算解雇雇员,则不适用法定申诉程序。如果在个人未按照公司程序提出上诉后已经过去了一段合理的时间,则您应告知该个人,对该决定提出上诉的期限已经到期,并确保他/她了解该决定是最终决定。但是,重要的是要注意,任何与员工见面的协议都必须考虑“grievance”可能会被解释为正在考虑上诉或以其他方式继续执行解雇程序,这可能会延长提出索赔的期限,并使您面临自动不公正解雇的裁定。 当然,《就业法案》将废除法定的争端解决程序,但在此之前,雇主必须继续尽最大努力与他们打交道。