Employment Cases

This page provides general guidance on the time limits for the most common claims.

Cases-Limitation Dates

Most claims have a time limit of three months less one day from the date of the unlawful act to present a claim to an Employment Tribunal. Remember though before you can lodge a claim in the Employment Tribunal you have to have completed ACAS Early Conciliation. When this limitation is triggered depends on the type of claim.

This page provides general guidance on the time limits for the most common claims. Unless otherwise stated, the time limit referred to is three months less one day from the date of the unlawful act or omission (failure to act).

Unfair Dismissal

The time limit begins from when an employee is dismissed. This is known as the effective date of termination (EDT). For example if an employee was dismissed on 10th March they would have until 9th June to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

The dismissal date should be stated in the dismissal letter. If there is any doubt about the date of the dismissal you should assume that it is the earliest possible date to avoid missing the time limit.

Unlawful Deduction from Wages

The time limit runs from the date of the deduction. For example, if you were underpaid on 30th September you would have until 29th December to bring a claim.

It is common for deductions to be made on more than one pay date, this is referred to as a ‘chain of deductions.’ If you were correctly paid for one pay date this would be sufficient to break the chain of deductions and a three months minus one day time limit would run from the last deduction. It is essential that all potential deductions are kept ‘within time.’

For example if there was an underpayment on 30th March but payment was made correctly on 30th April, time would run from 30th March as the correct payment ‘cancels’ out the underpayment for the purposes of calculating a time limit.

Please note that the maximum time period you can recover in an unlawful deduction from wages claim in the Employment Tribunal is two years.

Redundancy Pay

The time limit to bring a claim for a failure to pay a statutory redundancy payment is six months less one day from the ‘relevant date’. This is usually from when the employment was terminated.

However if the employee is entitled to a contractual redundancy payment, which has been incorrectly paid, then the limitation is three months less one day from the date the employment is terminated.

Equal Pay

A claim can be brought at any time during employment, or 6 months less one day from the termination of the employment about which you are complaining, however if your job role changes or you are subject to a TUPE transfer then time can run from these events.

So, to be clear, If your role has changed or you have transferred employment, the change of role or transfer of employer may in some cases be treated as the end of your employment and the time limit period may run from that date.


The time limit in a discrimination claim is 3 months less one day from the discriminatory act. For example if you were subject to a discriminatory act on 5th July you would have until 4th October to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal. (subject of course to completing early Conciliation which may move that date)

The time limit in which to bring each of these types of claim runs from the act of discrimination (or unlawful omission) and where there are several instances there may be several different limitation dates.

It is therefore best to note down a chronology of dates and times of when incidents have occurred and go for the earliest possible date to ensure that you are in time to bring a claim. Please see our Discrimination page for more information on the types of discrimination claims which can be pursued.

Continuing Acts of discrimination

There is an argument that where the acts of discrimination are continuing and it is the same type of discrimination (for example harassment) then time will run from the date of the last act of its type. However it is best to take the date of the earliest possible act of discrimination to ensure that the claim is in time whenever possible.

It is important to contrast a continuing act of discrimination to the situation where the discrimination is a one-off incident which has ongoing consequences (such as stress and anxiety or a falling out with your manager).

In this scenario, the time limit runs from the actual incident rather than during or at the end of the continuing consequences. So, act without delay and seek advice as soon as you believe you have been subjected to discrimination.

Claims which are out of time

Employment Tribunals have discretion to hear claims that are “out of time” i.e after the normal limitation time limit. In most claims the tribunal would ask:

  1. Was it not reasonably practicable for the claim to be presented in time?
  2. If so, was it presented within a reasonable time thereafter?

For claims of discrimination the test is different, here Employment Tribunal has to consider whether it is ‘just and equitable’ to extend the time period for lodging the claim.

It is rare for Employment Tribunals to hear claims that are submitted out of the time so approach this with extreme caution. Best practice is to ensure any claim is submitted in time so you do not have to rely on this argument.

The calculation of time limits can be quite complex and, if you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed, have been discriminated against or believe you have a claim that needs to be considered for an Employment Tribunal claim then contact your GMB representative.


The purpose of this advice page is to give an overview of some of the rights that are available to you, however this is no substitute for specific advice which you can obtain from your GMB Trade Union Representative.

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