In a recent case, Cyxtera Technology UK Ltd had sent its employee, Mr Meaker a without prejudice letter on 5 February 2020 stating that his employment would mutually terminate on 7 February 2020 by reason of capability. Enclosed with this letter was a settlement agreement. Mr Meaker rejected the settlement offer and subsequently brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The tribunal dismissed the case on account of Mr Meaker presenting the claim out of time and did not grant an extension of time.
Mr Meaker appealed, arguing that his employment was terminated on 14 February 2020 (the date he received payment of his PILON and accrued untaken holidays), and he was therefore in time to bring his claim. The EAT held that the without prejudice letter sent to Mr Meaker on 5 February 2020 did amount to a dismissal as, amongst other reasons, it had not come out of the blue (termination had been discussed between Mr Meaker and the Respondent on 20 January 2020) and it clearly communicated when his termination would occur. In reviewing Mr Meaker’s argument, the EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision not to allow for an extension of time to present his claim as it was not reasonable for him to consider that his employment had not terminated on 7 February 2020.