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Case Law - A tribunal should look at the original claim documents

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A tribunal should look at the original claim documents in order to conclude which claims have been brought by a Claimant, and not just rely on the agreed list of issues Z v Y

The Claimant worked for the Respondent in fire and rescue. After a long sickness absence, she resigned from her role, and brought claims against her employer. The initial claim form included various claims of discrimination, and also stated “I was Constructively Dismissed on 1st June 2018 – the last act of discrimination”.

In the course of the usual litigation proceedings, the parties agreed a list of issues and listed the claims the tribunal had to determine. This list referred to constructive unfair dismissal, but did not include the dismissal being a discriminatory unfair dismissal.

The tribunal concluded that the Claimant had been constructively dismissed. It also determined that the reason she resigned was because of discriminatory conduct that had breached trust and confidence. However, they ruled that the list of issues for them determine did not include ruling on whether the dismissal was discriminatory in itself. Several of the discrimination claims were upheld, but as the dismissal was not ruled as discrimination, the allegations could not count as a “continuing act” that ended with the dismissal, and therefore they were deemed to be out of time.

The EAT determined that the claim of discriminatory constructive dismissal was clearly included in the claim form, and therefore the tribunal had been wrong to limit itself to the list of issues, and not determine the claims as had been pleaded. It therefore remitted the issue back to the tribunal as to whether the discrimination claims therefore amounted to “conduct extending over a period” in order to bring them into time.

The ruling is a warning to employers not to rely on list of issues as having “limited” the Claimant’s claims, and that if the original claims can reasonably be interpreted as to including other claims, tribunals still have the jurisdiction to determine these at a final hearing.