The Employment Court has found that exceptional circumstances existed to allow an employee to bring a personal grievance outside the 90 day time limit.

The employee had been dismissed from his employment and had engaged lawyers to assist him with the claim.  Despite making contact with the lawyers on multiple occasions they failed to raise a personal grievance within the 90 day time limit.

The employee therefore took it upon himself to raise the grievance, but instead of sending that the employer he sent it to the Employment Relations Authority.  He sent it on the evening of the last day of the 90 day time limit, but it did not arrive by way of email until the following morning at 1 a.m.   This meant that it was out of time by the time it arrived at the Employment Relations Authority.   The ERA staff then sent it on to the employer the following day but that made it two days outside the 90 day time limit.

The Court considered all matters including that the employee was under significant stress as a result of the events giving rise to his dismissal and as a result of that significant stress he was not able to properly appreciate or undertake the processes needed to file his personal grievance within time.

The Court therefore allowed him to file out of time because of the short two delay in getting the matter to the employer which did not cause them any prejudice.

The Court emphasised that an extension will only be given in exceptional circumstances and that here both the mental state of the employee and the fact that he had been abandoned by his lawyers without assistance were exceptional factors justifying an extension of time.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer