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An employee’s date of dismissal – a simple fact surely….

14 October 2010

… not always. In the case of Gisda Cyf v Mrs Barratt, Mrs Barratt was informed of the outcome of her disciplinary hearing by letter. The letter was signed for her by her son on 30th November, however, Mrs Barratt was on holiday and did not read the letter until 4th December when she returned.

The Supreme Court held that her date of termination was the date she read the letter and therefore her unfair dismissal claim was in time.

Employers should take careful note of this decision in relation to appeal time limits. Where disciplinary outcomes are advised by letter, employers should consider a more flexible approach to time limits allowed for submitting an appeal where it is known the employee is on holiday or for some other reason will not read the outcome letter on the date of delivery. The Acas Code does not specify a time limit and employers should therefore ensure they consider all the circumstances before rejecting an appeal as out of time.

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