Mr Pora was employed at Cape Industrial Services as an Industrial Cleaner Operative from February 2014 until his dismissal on 12 May 2017.
Mr Pora had an accident at work on 2 June 2017 when he suffered an injury to his arm. He was off work sick from this date until his dismissal. It appears that, at some point, the sickness absence became attributable to anxiety and depression rather than the physical injury. Occupational health’s view was that the prospects of him returning to work in the foreseeable future were negligible.
Mr Pora claims that he was the subject of derogatory comments from co-workers and his manager related to being Polish until the end of May 2016. He raised a grievance about this and other matters in a letter to his employer dated 6 April 2017, in which he also sought compensation for his injury at work.
Mr Pora attended a meeting on 14 March 2017. He stated he could not return to the same job but asked if he could return to a different job. Cape Industrial Services said this was not possible. There is a dispute as to whether Mr Pora, who was accompanied by his wife at the meeting, agreed that the most appropriate action was for the company to terminate his employment on the grounds of ill health.
By a letter dated 3 May 2017, his employment was terminated with effect from 12 May 2017. In the letter the Senior Operations Manager stated he found no evidence to substantiate his allegations of discrimination on the grounds of racism. He did, however, agree to meet with Mr Pora if he would like to discuss further.
Mr Pora did not present a claim to the employment tribunal until 23 March 2018. He approached ACAS under the early conciliation procedure on 22 March 2018 and the certificate was issued the same day.
Mr Pora put his case for unfair dismissal in the hands of solicitors recommended to him by Citizens Advice and relied on them to present his claim. He was assured on several occasions that all was in hand, but it transpired that no claim for unfair dismissal was presented to the ET until after the time limit had expired. When he presented his claim, requesting an extension of time on the basis of his solicitors’ negligence, the ET ruled that it had been reasonably practicable for him to present his complaint within the relevant time period, and so the ET did not have jurisdiction to consider the complaint. The Claimant appealed.
The employment appeal tribunal held that the employment tribunal had correctly concluded that it was reasonably practicable for Mr Pora to present his claim in time.