Cole v Elders’ Voice UKEAT/0251/19/VP

Appeal against the ET’s determination that there was no jurisdiction to hear the Claimant’s complaints of direct discrimination and/or harassment against the Respondent. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant presented a claim for unfair dismissal and race discrimination against her employer, a predecessor organisation of the Respondent. A COT3 was signed, apparently settling the actual or potential claims, and a preliminary hearing took place to determine whether the ET had jurisdiction to hear the claim notwithstanding the COT3. There was no official note of the hearing, at which the Claimant was unrepresented, but it appears that, following an objection by counsel for the Respondent, the ET did not look at any without prejudice material that contained correspondence leading up to the COT3; as a result, the ET concluded that the settlement in the COT3 could not be challenged, and the Claimant's request for reconsideration was refused. The Claimant appealed on various grounds, including that the ET had erred in failing to look at the without prejudice material before deciding that the COT3 was valid.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in failing to examine the without prejudice material, and the appeal must be allowed. Accordingly, the preliminary issue would be remitted to a fresh ET for rehearing.

Published: 21/12/2020 17:13