If a director was named on the ACAS Early Conciliation form and the company on the Claim Form, should the claim be allowed to proceed (as this was a minor error)?
No, held the EAT, in Giny v SNA Transport Ltd.
The Claimant brought several claims, including constructive dismissal, against his former employer. When he was initially unrepresented, he contacted Acas for Early Conciliation and named the director, Shakoor Nadeem Ahmed, as the prospective Respondent. He then instructed solicitors to prepare his Claim Form which correctly named the Respondent as his employer, ‘SNA Transport Limited’. The employment tribunal rejected his claim as the Respondent had not been correctly identified on the Early Conciliation Certificate. His solicitors applied to the tribunal to reconsider that decision on the basis that the use of the director’s name was a “minor error”, which (under the rules) allows a tribunal to overlook it.
The employment tribunal rejected that application. Confusing the director with the company was not a minor error, and it had been right to reject the claim. The Claimant appealed.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal, although sympathetic, rejected the Claimant’s application. It said that a two stage test should be applied. Firstly, was it a minor error? If not, the claim would be rejected. Secondly, if it was, the tribunal should go on to consider whether or not it was in the interests of justice to allow the claim to proceed. Although in principle the distinction between a natural and a legal person could amount to a minor error, in this case it did not. Each case should be considered on its facts, and as there was no error in the tribunal’s Judgment, the Claimant’s appeal was dismissed.