ET1 Claim Form Rejected by Tribunal

Andrew Boast
9 min read
ET1 Claim Form Rejected: Advice from employment law friend

When completing your ET1 Claim Form there are some pieces of information that if you (the employee) complete incorrectly it'll mean that your claim is rejected. Whether you have an open and shut case of sexual harassment doesn't matter, if the ET1 Claim Form is completed incorrectly then you may never get to have your say at the Tribunal.

In the eyes of an employee you may see a mistake in the company address or the ACAS conciliation number as an honest mistake. The Employment Tribunal doesn't and the position is clear that if you do make a mistake then the form must be rejected and a new form submitted. In some cases this will mean the claim is out of time.

Make sure you include the correct name and address of the employee and employer and the ACAS conciliation number.

Rejection: form not used or failure to supply minimum information

10.—(1) The Tribunal shall reject a claim if:

    it is not made on a prescribed form;
    it does not contain all of the following information:
  • each claimant’s name;
  • each claimant’s address;
  • each respondent’s name;
  • each respondent’s address; OR
    it does not contain one of the following—
  • an early conciliation number;
  • confirmation that the claim does not institute any relevant proceedings; or
  • confirmation that one of the early conciliation exemptions applies.

Whilst it may sound very picky the Employment Tribunal cannot accept a an ET1 Claim Form where the above are incorrect. Where there is an error the Tribunal will return the ET1 form to the claimant (employee) with a notice confirming why their application has been rejected. The Tribunal will also confirm how for the application to be reconsidered.

How to make sure you ET1 claim doesn't get rejected

    Claimant's Name
Section 1.2 and 1.3 of the ET1 Form.
This is the least likely thing to get wrong on your form however if you include the wrong Claimant's name then your claim will be rejected. There is more of a chance to get the Claimant's name wrong when there are multiple Claimant's.

    Claimant's address
Section 1.5 of the ET1 Form.
As above, the risk of getting this wrong is very little.

    Respondent's name
Section 2.1, 2.5 and 2.7 (if more than one Respondent) of the ET1 Form.
The Respondent is the employer (company name (limited or public), self-employed trading name or Public sector) and not the individual who your claim is about. All too often Claimants include the name of the director instead of the company name. Here are some guides to getting the right name into your ET1:

  • Check your Contract of Employment. Your contract of employment should have your employer's name in it. Read more about your contract of employment and where to find it
  • Check Companies House. You can check Companies House to confirm the name of a company. You can search under the Director's name or company name.

    Respondent's Address
Section 2.2, 2.5 and 2.7 (if more than one Respondent) of the ET1 Form.
The Respondent's address is any location where it trades from. If it is a company with multiple locations then include the head office stated at Companies House.

What if you include the Director's home address?
The ET1 claim form needs to be served on the Respondent's address, not the Respondent's employee's address. If the trading address for the company is the Director's home address then this is fine, however if it isn't then don't include that address.

The reason why you must use the Respondent's place of business address is so that the Employment Tribunal can send the ET1 claim form to and communicate with the Respondent and so that in the event of a claim being won, that the award can be served on the Respondent at their work address.

Where the wrong address is being used, the Respondent can appeal once they are aware of the claim and the case will be thrown out and an order for the Claimant to file an amended ET1 on the Respondent's head office or trading address.

    ACAS conciliation number
Section 2.3, 2.6 and 2.8 (if more than one Respondent) of the ET1 Form.
The conciliation number is provided by ACAS. Getting the ACAS conciliation number wrong is the most common cause for getting your ET1 Claim Form Rejected. The best advice is to write the number in and check it 2 or 3 times to make sure.

Mrs M Sterling v United Learning Trust
In February 2015 the Tribunal ruled: Thus, if the “minimum information” referred to in the heading of the rule is not present on the form, the Tribunal has no option but to reject the claim unless, that is, it might be excused by considering some other rule. Rule 10(2) provides “The form shall be returned to the claimant with a notice of rejection explaining why it has been rejected. The notice shall contain information about how to apply for a reconsideration of the rejection...Where the rule requires an early conciliation number to be set out, it is implicit that that number is an accurate number. The tribunal had found it was not. Once that appeared to be the case, the tribunal was obliged to reject it, and that rejection would stand, subject only to reconsideration, which here was not asked for.”.

Ms S M Zhou v North East London NHS Foundation Trust
In July 2018 the Tribunal ruled: Specifically, it relates to the presentation of an ET1 without a full ACAS Early Conciliation (“EC”) number, which was rejected on this basis and to the subsequent resubmission of the claim out of time...The Claimant’s ET claim was duly rejected and the Claimant’s solicitors re-submitted the claim - this time with the correct EC number - within a day of receiving the ET’s notification of rejection. That, however, was outside the limitation period. Upon considering whether it had jurisdiction to determine the Claimant’s claims, the ET held that the claim was initially correctly rejected because it did not contain the right EC number and the re-submitted claim was out of time...Given the mandatory language of Rule 10(1)(c)(i) of the ET Rules, however, I am unable to see how the requirement could be mitigated by means of the overriding objective. The barrier is thus one created by the ET Rules themselves and not by the approach of the ET or the EAT.”

Adams v British Telecommunications Plc
(i) I am quite satisfied in light of the findings and circumstances, that when the Claimant lodged her first claim, on 16 February 2015, she had no reason to believe that it contained the defect that it did. Had she become aware of that defect either when transposing the conciliation certificate number or at any time after, I have little doubt that she would have done something about it given that she attended on 16 February and immediately on notification of the defect, again on 19 February. I accept, therefore, that in the period between 16 and 19 February the Claimant was proceeding in the mistaken belief that the first claim had been properly presented. She may have been comforted by the fact that she was accompanied by a solicitor when she completed the form in having that belief, so that contrary to the position advanced by Mr Rushmere it seems to me that the belief she held between 16 and 19 February - which was in fact a mistaken belief - may have in part been formed on the basis of the comfort of having solicitors' advice. Whilst it might not have been reasonable to make the mistake in completing the form that she did, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I accept that it was a genuine and unintentional mistake and that the Claimant, was altogether unaware of that mistake until notified of it on 19 February.

Frequently Asked Questions
It is the responsibility of the claimant to ensure the details of the Respondent in the ET1 are correct and to get it wrong could mean their claim can’t be heard by the Tribunal. Even if the claim form is updated with the correct information the claim may end up being out of time by the time it is amended. Notify the tribunal as soon as possible.
Under rule 10 (2) it states:

    The form shall be returned to the claimant with a notice of rejection explaining why it has been rejected. The notice shall contain information about how to apply for a reconsideration of the rejection.

The claimant or their representative upon receipt of the notice will need to correct the ET1 and resubmit it to the Tribunal. The challenge is that the claim may be out of time by the time you need to make the changes.
Companies can change their names or the address where they trade. The ET1 form must include the Respondent's name and address that are correct as at the date they are served at the Employment Tribunal. If the Respondent's name or address change after this date then the ET1 is not rejected. Make sure to check it is correct before you serve the ET1 Form.

Do you need help filing an ET1 Claim Form?

We can help make sure your ET1 doesn't get rejected by offering you our downloadable guide or you can hire our specialist solicitor to do it for you at competitive rates. We will even help you work out whether you have a case worth pursing.

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This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice please get in contact and speak to your employment law solicitors.
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