Pereira v GFT Financial Limited [2023] EAT 124

Appeal against the refusal of an application for reconsideration of a refusal to permit amendments to a claim form to add dismissal for pregnancy and/or asserting a statutory right. Appeal allowed.

In 2018, the Claimant made a claim to the ET and ticked the boxes for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, but not pregnancy or maternity discrimination. Later on in 2019, the Claimant applied to add claims for automatic unfair dismissal on grounds of her pregnancy and for asserting a statutory right. The ET found that that the proposed amendments had not been raised before, were out of time and it was not just and equitable to extend time as a highly educated woman was able to research the claims and did not need assistance in bringing a pregnancy dismissal in time. The judgment also considered the Claimant’s further particulars that had been ordered. The ET found that the Claimant gave no clear or coherent explanation for why she did not tick the box to include a claim for pregnancy dismissal in her claim form. An application for reconsideration was also refused and the Claimant appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET wrongly focused on whether the claims raised by amendment by the claimant were in time. It should have first asked itself whether these were new claims at all or whether, having regard to the whole of the claim form, they were already part of the claim or at least the same facts relied on were already in the claim. Any ET properly reading the claim form including its attachments would have concluded that the substance of the amendments were already part of the claim. The ET also failed to consider the balance of prejudice in considering the interests of justice in failing to take into account the need for a full hearing about these events and facts in any event, the medical evidence submitted by the Claimant at the previous preliminary hearing about her illness at the time of presenting the claim and the new medical evidence supplied by the Claimant for the reconsideration hearing about her capabilities as a result of her illness. It was an error for the ET to reach its own contrary conclusions on her capabilities without consideration of this medical evidence and as an impermissible exercise of discretion to exclude such relevant matters from the interests of justice consideration.

Published: 13/10/2023 10:33

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