Is an employment tribunal entitled to rely on a list of issues that miscategorises the claim before them?
No, held the EAT (unsurprisingly) in Saha v Capita plc.
Miss Saha worked as an Assistant Management Accountant. On 1 December 2015, she wrote an email to several members of management advising that she would not work the year-end hours proposed because (i) they were detrimental to her health and safety, and (ii) they were in breach of the Working Time Regulations. A few days later, Capita offered her £10,000 to terminate her employment. By the end of the month Miss Saha had lodged several claims before the employment tribunal.
Miss Saha represented herself throughout the litigation. Following several Case Management Hearings, the tribunal produced a list of issues, to which Miss Saha did not object. The list set out the matters in the 1 December email under two different claims, the health and safety as a protected disclosure detriment claim, and the breach of the WTR as a working time detriment claim.
However, both had been pleaded as protected disclosures. The EAT robustly rejected the suggestion that the tribunal was bound by the list of issues before it. The tribunal's core duty was to hear and determine the case in accordance with the law and the evidence, not to stick slavishly to the list of issues.
Thanks to James Green of Littleton Chambers for preparing this case summary.