The general rule is that a complaint of disability discrimination must be presented to an employment tribunal within three months of the date on which the act complained of took place.
In many cases, it is clear when the act complained of occurred. For example, if a dismissal is discriminatory, the act of discrimination takes place when the notice of dismissal expires — ie on the termination date. A rejection for an appointment or a promotion is usually a single act on a specific date.
Difficulties arise where there is continuing discrimination over a period of time. If this amounts to a series of distinct acts, the time limit runs from the date of each act. If there is continuing discrimination, the time limit starts from when the last act was completed.
Tribunals have discretion to extend the time limit for lodging a disability discrimination claim where they think it is "just and equitable" to do so. This is a broader discretion than in unfair dismissal claims, where the time limit can only be extended if the claimant can show that it was "not reasonably practicable" to present the claim in time. Case law shows that the exercise of the just and equitable discretion is the exception rather than the rule.