A claim will be rejected by an employment tribunal if the name of the prospective respondent on the early conciliation (EC) certificate to which the EC number relates differs to the name of the respondent on the claim form, “unless the judge considers that the claimant made a minor error in relation to a name or address and it would not be in the interests of justice to reject the claim” (Rule 12(2A), ET Rules).
In the recent case of Giny v SNA Transport Ltd, the Claimant Mr Giny brought several claims, including constructive dismissal, against his former employer. Before issuing his Claim Form (when he was not represented), Mr Giny provided ACAS with the information required 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 the claim as it had no jurisdiction since the prospective Respondent’s name in the EC certificate was not the same as the name in the Claim Form. Mr Giny asked for this decision to be reconsidered on the basis that it was not in the interests of justice to reject the claim and under Rule 12(2A) of the ET Rules the tribunal was allowed to accept claims where the difference was a minor error.
The employment tribunal dismissed the application for a reconsideration and stated that the ET rules were clear on the need for the name of the prospective respondent to appear on an EC certificate and this had not occurred in this case. Confusing the director with the company was not a minor error.
Mr Giny appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The EAT rejected the Claimant’s application on the basis of a two-stage test:
- Was it a minor error? If not, the claim would be rejected.
- If it was, the tribunal should 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. It is important to note that each case should be considered on its facts; here, as there was no error in the tribunal’s Judgment the Claimant’s appeal was dismissed.