Fireman's Unfair Dismissal Claim Defeated by Delay

In a reminder to all that, in employment cases, timing can be everything, a sacked fireman has had his compensation hopes dashed after he delayed too long before seeking professional advice and launching his unfair dismissal claim.

The fireman had been summarily dismissed for alleged gross misconduct on 24 August 2012. That was his last day at work; however, he subsequently appealed and the finding against him was reduced to simple misconduct in January 2013. As he had already received a final written warning, his dismissal was nevertheless confirmed, although he was granted a payment in lieu of notice.

He subsequently lodged an unfair dismissal claim. However, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that his effective date of dismissal was 24 August 2012. On that basis, he had launched his claim outside the three-month time limit which normally applies to employment cases and his claim was struck out for delay.

In rejecting his challenge to that decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal pointed out that the man’s employer had explicitly stated that the date of his dismissal was 24 August 2012 and had given reasons for his dismissal in writing. His subsequent partial success on appeal did not change the position. The ET was plainly right to conclude that it would have been practicable for him to have launched proceedings before the expiry of the three-month deadline.