Withdrawals of dismissals and resignations

The Judgment in a recent case (CF Capital Plc v Willoughby (2011)) has made it clear that, once an employer has sought to dismiss an employee by letter, it is then extremely difficult to withdraw it.  This is particularly relevant in situations where the employer acts hastily or in a ‘hot headed’ fashion and then subsequently regrets doing so.

The lesson to be borne in mind here, as an employer, is to deal with potential dismissals in a calm and measured manner; not to resort, necessarily, to swift action.

What about situations that are, effectively, the other way round?  Can a resignation by an employee be revoked, if that person later feels he/she was, again, hot headed when quitting their job?

Popular, academic opinion suggests that the employer should always allow for a ‘cooling off’ period before later asking the employee whether he/she would kindly like to affirm their resignation or withdraw it.

Employers should be wary; Employment Tribunals have, in the past, allowed employees to bring unfair dismissal claims despite having appeared, on the face of it, to have tendered their resignation, later feeling that they acted in an overly hasty manner and did not intend to lose their job.

John is a partner at Leonard Gray. He is a Business & Commercial Property lawyer with over 15 years’ qualified experience in dealing with a variety of industrial, property and landlord and tenant matters. John is also an ADR Group accredited civil, commercial and family mediator.