Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) & Modern Technology – A Click too Far?
Would you lodge an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) by simply sharing a file via a file hosting service?
Technology influences all aspects of our daily lives – but should this include the submission of formal documents? Interesting!
In a recent case, a notice of appeal to the EAT was lodged by sharing a link to a file stored with global file hosting service, Dropbox. The use of modern technology within this process was queried, despite the almost global use of emails in favour of post. The outcome? No – this is not acceptable.
The case involved was Majekodunmi v City Facilities Management. The actions involved were:
- The Claimant’s employment tribunal claim had been struck out, and he sought to appeal.
- On the penultimate day of the 42 day time for appealing, his representative emailed the grounds of appeal and some of the mandatory supporting documents to the EAT.
- On the last day, instead of sending the remaining documents as attachments to one or more emails, as directed in the relevant EAT guidance (set out in leaflet T440), she sent a link to a zip file on Dropbox.
HHJ Eady agreed with the Registrar that the appeal had not been validly lodged within the 42-day period. The difference between an email attachment and a Dropbox link was clear. In one case, the EAT would have possession of the attachment as soon as it had collected the email – even if it then lost its internet connection. In the other, someone would need to follow the link to an external location and save a copy of the document before the EAT would have possession of it.
At Consensus HR, we always advise our clients to be proactive rather than reactive. This way, hopefully you never have to go to an Employment Tribunal (ET), avoiding the need to lodge information to an ET or to an EAT, (Employment Appeal Tribunal). However this could still be the final stage, despite working to best practice and within the law. In these circumstances lodging of information must always be completed correctly, following the relevant Tribunal Guidance.
Thanks to Naomi Cunningham of Outer Temple Chambers for preparing this case summary.