Resignation should be unambiguous to be valid

It is established law that an employee’s resignation should be clear and unambiguous to take effect, be the notice given verbally, in writing or resignation is implied by conduct. The importance of definitive notice was highlighted in a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust v Levy.

Ms Levy received a conditional offer for a post within the hospital but this offer was subsequently withdrawn. In the meantime, she had written to her current manager saying: "Please accept one month's notice from the above date”. The hospital accepted this as a resignation notice. Ms Levy thought she was dismissed unfairly and lodged a claim with the Employment Tribunal.

On appeal, it was confirmed that the written notice to the manager was too ambiguous to be construed as a resignation notice. It was not clear wether Ms Levy was resigning from her present job or from the new position then offered to her.

If in doubt, it is always best to seek clarification from the employee whether or not resignation was intended.

Authors: Kiril Moskovchuk

Published: 01 Oct 2018


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(cAse SeNSItivE!)

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