If a director was named on the ACAS Early Conciliation form and the company an Employment Tribunal Claim Form, should the claim be allowed to proceed (as this was a minor error)?
No, held the Employment Appeals Tribunal in the case of Giny v SNA Transport Ltd.
Mr Geny brought several claims, including constructive dismissal, against his former employer, SNA Transport Ltd. 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 SNA Transport Limited. The Employment Tribunal rejected Mr Geny’s claim as the Respondent had not been correctly identified on the Early Conciliation Certificate. Mr Geny’s solicitors applied to the Employment Tribunal to reconsider that decision on the basis that the use of the director's name was a minor error. The Employment Tribunal rejected the application. Mr Geny appealed.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal, although sympathetic, rejected Mr Geny’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 a minor error, 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, Mr Geny’s appeal was dismissed.
This judgment might appear harsh particularly as Mr Geny was unrepresented during ACAS Early Conciliation and he was clearly confused about the identity of his employer.
However it is clear that cases will be judged on their own specific facts and it will be a question for the tribunal as to whether the evidence presented amounts to a minor error or not. Therefore anyone wanting to bring a tribunal claim must ensure they have properly established the identity of their employer to avoid issues further down the line.
If you have a dispute in the workplace and want to discuss the matter with the Employment and HR Services team, please do not hesitate to contact Sally Morris at email@example.com or on 01905 734032.