When is notice not notice…

Published on: 14/09/2018


In a recent EAT case, the claimant had decided to move from one department to another, both within the employer’s business.  She had received a conditional job offer from the new department and wrote to her employer stating ‘please accept one month’s notice from the above date’. Her conditional offer was later withdrawn and she asked to retract, what she called, her notice of resignation.  The employer refused stating that she had resigned.

The EAT held that the notice was ambiguous and concluded that a reasonable person would have understood this to refer to the move to the new department and not to the termination of employment entirely.  The EAT did not feel that the reference to retracting her ‘notice of resignation’ was fatal and said too much emphasis should not be given to subsequent events when trying to interpret the parties earlier actions and intentions.

This case is a warning to employers not to be too heavy handed in such situations and to take a step back and consider what was likely intended by the party giving the notice.


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