Blog

You Are Here:

When is a Resignation Not a Resignation?

Posted on | Posted in Unfair Dismissal

A question faced by many employers is how to deal with an employee who resigns and subsequently attempts to retract that resignation. It is well-established that, in most circumstances, where notice of termination has been given by either party, it cannot be withdrawn without the other party’s consent. This is a sensible rule which brings clarity and certainty to the employment relationship.

However, the Employment Tribunals have tended to make allowances for “heat of the moment” behaviour, where the employer dismisses or the employee resigns and immediately has a change of heart. Where it is clear that the action of the employer or employee has been impetuous or rash, Tribunals generally consider that there should be an opportunity for the words to be withdrawn.

Employers will also be familiar with the situation where an employee resigns and, whether out of a desire not to lose the employee, or an attempt to forestall potential Tribunal proceedings, they try to get the employee to change their mind.

 In Chelmsford College Corporation v Teal UKEAT/0277/11 an employee employed on a fixed-term, zero-hours contract resigned with immediate effect when her claim for overtime pay was refused. Her employer invited her to a grievance hearing at which it confirmed that her overtime would be paid and the employee retracted her resignation. During the time when her grievance was being resolved, the employee carried out no work for the employer, which then wrote to her to inform her that she would not be paid for the intervening period. The employee raised a grievance about not being paid and, after that was rejected, she resigned again and brought Tribunal proceedings. The question before the Tribunal was whether the employee’s employment had ended with the first or second resignation, as it affected whether her claim had been brought in time. The Employment Tribunal and, subsequently, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, found that the Claimant had remained in employment until her second resignation. Both Tribunals considered that the first resignation had been clear and unambiguous and was not in the heat of the moment and, therefore, the employer had been under no obligation to invite her to withdraw it. However, after the employee, at her employer’s suggestion, agreed to withdraw the resignation, her employment continued as though the resignation had never happened.

 Also, think carefully before inviting an employee to withdraw their resignation: consider all the ramifications, in particular, what you will do if they say yes.

 

0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts
09 Nov 2021

Do I want a new job or is it time to negotiate?

The pandemic gave people the chance to take stock of their working lives and evaluate new priorities such as remote working, flexible or part time hours and mental health. ‘The Great Resignation’ has seen employees worldwide leave unsatisfying working conditions, with some having a total change of direction of their career path.  A lack of[…..]

Latest Posts
17 Oct 2021

Opening minds and opening doors: the benefits of outplacement service after furlough

The UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention scheme ended on 30 September 2021 and organisations across the country will be deciding which roles are now redundant. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) predicts that 150,000 employees will be affected the end of the furlough scheme. The employees could benefit from support like outplacement[…..]

Latest Posts
23 Sep 2021

Investing in candidates in the long term: A success story

Anthony has been on the books of Wote Street People, a recruitment agency in Basingstoke, for over 12 years. We’ve placed him in temporary jobs, permanent jobs, and he’s found jobs himself…but he always comes back to us. By telling his story, we hope other candidates will be able to see how much we invest[…..]

Latest Posts
27 Aug 2021

It’s people not technology, that makes our world go round – do your bit and get referring

As mentioned in our previous blog, there is currently a widespread candidate shortage and we need your help to match the right people to the right jobs. What has a candidate shortage got to do with me? Worker shortages will affect everyone at a personal, local and national level. The pandemic and people self-isolating proved[…..]

Latest Posts
26 Aug 2021

Facing redundancy? The path ahead is paved with transferable skills

Why did the chicken cross the road? There wasn’t a lorry driver available to give it a lift. You’ve probably heard the news reports of a partial closure of the restaurant chain Nando’s and fewer dishes on the menu at KFC. Turkey might be off the menu for some this Christmas too because of a[…..]