UK Employment Law
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When an employee wishes to leave their employment, they will usually be bound by one of two notice periods – a contractual one or a statutory one.
If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific notice period, the employee will be contractually bound by it. If the employee fails to honour this notice period then technically they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer can then make a claim for breach of contract and seek compensation for damages resulting from that breach. However, such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time required to do so, plus the uncertainty over the outcome. Whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more probable outcome would be that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it may mention that the employee had left in breach of contract.
It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible, and there is a pressing need to leave immediately, that may be the only option, subject to the risks identified above.
Thanks for this reply & I take in all what you say where I have to say I sort of feel duped over this notice period I am looking like I may have to serve, however is there any reproach on it given the way it was done & I was almost made to sign it there on the day? I have proof of the email chain telling me that there had been a mistake & my contract was not coming in the post 3 days before after all.
That would be difficult to argue, it is common for employees to be given a contract and be asked to sign it once they have had a look at it. But as mentioned I have never seen an employer actually sue an employee for not giving their notice period and this is something that is usually reserved for high ranking executives where the potential damages are much more worthwhile pursuing
I just thought it was a rather strange way for them to do things & perhaps it was a mistake as to where the paperwork got to. Based on your experience though I would be grateful to find out what if any cases had come up like this & even if they were to go down that road do you have any idea what I could be expected to pay to them ?
usually it would be costs with getting a replacement - they have a duty to mitigate their losses as soon as possible so for example they could get an agency worker at short notice and pass on the agency fees for that.
Thanks and where this may have happened then am I assuming that the amount could be paid in installments & not all at the time? From leaving then I would assume if a hearing were to come up it would be after a few further letters & dates to appear. Would you also recommend that I discuss my options directly with them or go through Head office given the size of the organisation, I need to make a decision on this soon & I just need to get the ball rolling - so to speak!
that can be agreed with the employer and if it goes to court they can also consider your financial circumstances when ordering a lump sum or instalments. Usually you will get warning by letter that legal action is considered but I cannot say who it is best to speak to, if you have not spoken to HO yet then just your correspondence to those people who have contacted you or who you have dealt with until now
Ok thanks for that & it gives me something to think about, I would guess they by mean of your first reply that they just might not really bother unless they really bare a grudge for some strange reason & given the fact that they have people applying for jobs there all the time online to them without even the need for agencies to source other willing applicants. I feel a bit silly really as I just got enthused offer getting a job & then two come at once where in the past I have been so watchful offer other types of other contracts & could n't see a situation like this coming. Just on more question & that is - do you get many people asking about this type of thing in the UK ?
This is a big company by the sounds of it and they will have much better things to do than to waste money and man hours on pursuing a claim against an employee where the costs they will be able to recover, if successful, will be minimal. I have answered similar questions on average of 2-3 times a month for the last 4 years on here
it is a common issue
Many thanks for you answers Ben & frankness of your answers, it kind of makes me feel a little better that I was the only one! Unbelievable that this goes on so much though but that's the law in this country I suppose. I just found this site by means of searching but will indeed recommend to others. As for my immediate action I will sleep on it for tonight at least.
All the best regards
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