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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  30 years experience
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I am a teacher in Thailand under annual contract of employment.

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I am a teacher in Thailand under annual contract of employment. My current contract expires on 31st August 2013. I have signed another contract that begins on 1st September 2013 but I have decided that I no longer wish to come back. I have already given them four months notice and told them that I am not coming back but they say I cannot resign until the contract starts and then I have to give four months notice. Because the contract has not yet started am I obligated to start work again in September or can I just walk out? I am suffering from stress because I am being bullied at work by my boss and I don't want to go back. Help ! Jane
Thank you for your question. Is your contract governed by Thai law or uk law ? where is your employer based?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The contract does not say which jurisdiction but I presume it is Thai law since the employer is St Andrews International School in Rayong Thailand. St Andrews schools are owned by Cognita UK a UK based company.

Ok Well I am not a Thai lawyer but both common sense and normal principles of contract suggest they are talking nonsense. If a contract is terminable on notice then you can serve it now. Further as these are employment contracts if you terminate the existing one it would be ridiculous to suggest you are bound by a subsequent one. I would tell them you are not returning and you have given appropriate notice and the matte is closed. No uk court would entertain a claim for damages in such circumstances.

You may have a problem with a reference however?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your clarification.
Yes, the Head refuses to give me a reference but his is not the end of the world.


I read that in the US 'the law in almost all states provides that, generally speaking, if neither party to a contract has begun to perform its obligations, either of the parties can back out of the deal'. Is this also true in the UK?


 

No not necessarily . If the contract is binding you cannot just back. It would depend on the nature of the contract but certainly there is no overriding principle. It would however impact on damages. I certainly do not think any claim could be made against you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


The Head has said that I could 'buy my way out of the contract' for next year. What do you think he means by that?

Sounds like he is trying to bully you into paying them something to release you but it is nonsense. If you have given them plenty of time to hire a replacement they have no recourse against you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Do you think I have a case for unfair constructive dismissal because of the proven harassment against me?

Sorry but that is a completely different question. It may well be but in the UK it is difficult to show constructive dismissal form a course of conduct at least until you have exhausted grievance procedures. You have to show a complete breakdown in relationship.
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