In the recent case of Fyfe v Arcadis Human Resources Ltd, an employment tribunal accepted allowed an extension of time for submission of its response to a claim due to the unprecedented circumstances of the first COVID-19 lockdown.
If a respondent wishes to defend an employment tribunal claim, it must present its response (using the prescribed ET3 form) to the tribunal office within 28 days of the date on which it was sent a copy of the claim by the tribunal.
Mr Fyfe submitted a claim to an employment tribunal during the initial phase of the first COVID-19 lockdown. The tribunal's notification of the claim was not received by Arcadis Human Resources Ltd despite it having an operational post room with skeleton staff throughout lockdown.
The tribunal accepted that these events occurred at an unprecedented time, when many individuals and organisations were adjusting to new working practices, and that Arcadis had not received notification of the claim. Arcadis acted swiftly once it knew of the claim and submitted a response to the claim within a day of being made aware of the claim.
This is an employment tribunal case and so the decision is not binding upon other employment tribunals, however the decision may be persuasive if employers find themselves in similar positions. It will always be important to act immediately upon becoming aware of a claim against an employer.
Should you need any assistance in responding to a claim then contact Greystone Legal today.