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Extending time against various Respondents
In Harden v Wootlif the Tribunal had to consider the situation where an extension of time was requested to lodge a claim against more than one Respondent in the same case. The employee lodged claims against the employer for direct discrimination and detriment for whistleblowing. However he also brought harassment claims against the employer and against Mr Harden who was the chairman of the employer – but these were lodged out of time. The Tribunal had to consider whether it was just and equitable to extend time under the Equality Act.
In confirming that the principle factor was the balance of prejudice, the judge held that the Claimant would be allowed to lodge the harassment claims late on the basis that the Tribunal was bound to consider the facts as background; the preparation for the harassment claim or defence of it would add nothing to the preparation of the case; and they did not add a great deal to the Claimant’s claims anyway.
However the individual Respondent appealed on the basis that the Tribunal Judge should not have considered the factors as relating to both Respondents but should have considered them individually – the factors which were taken into account in respect of the employer did not apply to him. He only faced a claim of harassment and nothing else, whereas the company was subject to a number of other claims. In short, if an extension of time was not provided against Mr Harden, there would be no claim against him, whereas claims would continue against the employer – and furthermore the background of harassment which the Tribunal Judge felt would be relevant to the Claimant’s other claims did not apply against the individual because he did not have the other claims lodged against him.
This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.
For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.
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