This case largely follows Shergold, but goes a little further. It is authority for the propositions that:
- a letter before action from a solicitor, which is adversarial rather than conciliatory and which is intended to claim financial compensation rather than invoke a grievance, nevertheless amouts to a grievance letter under s32 of the Employment Act 2002. Thus the Claimant is entitled to claim in the tribunal, and any award will be adjusted upwards if the employer fails to invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the 'grievance'.
- it does not matter that the solicitors' letter was headed 'without prejudice' and therefore would not normally be admissible as evidence of its contents in tribunal/court. Note that this part of the judgment (para. 29) was dealt with in a single paragraph, and is likely to prove controversial.
This is a well-written judgment and is worth reading.
Arnold Clark Automobiles v Stewart & anor.