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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47362
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am currently on maternity leave and was facing a

Customer Question

I am currently on maternity leave and was facing a disciplinary at work. I had my disciplinary meeting booked, however feeling under pressure I had a panic attack the day before the meeting, and sent a email to say I would not be returning to work after my maternity finishes. I then realised I'd done this in the heat of the moment and phoned the next day to ask if I was allowed to think about it for a week. HR said they had to action this as resignation. Are they allowed to do this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Sometimes an employee may resign in the heat of the moment. It could be an official resignation, or an act that implies resignation, such as clearing their desk, saying they will never return, etc. In such situations they might not really have meant to resign but did so on impulse. Therefore, the employer should not automatically assume that the employee has resigned and should allow a short cooling off period for them to change their mind if necessary.

The leading cases are those of Kwik-Fit Ltd v Lineham and Ali v Birmingham City Council. It was decided that an appropriate period for the employee to change his mind was "likely to be a day or two". That is on the assumption that the employee had not already been given the opportunity to reflect on their apparent resignation and retract it.

Therefore, in circumstances where an apparent resignation has occurred in the heat of the moment, the employer would be expected to give the employee a couple of days before treating their actions as a formal resignation. That time should be used by the employer to contact the employee in order to clarify their position. Failure to do so and take their resignation at face value could be treated as a dismissal instead, which could easily be challenged as being unfair in the employment tribunal.

I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not happy with the answer as I have just read this same response on the internet I want to know next steps etc to take am I correct in saying that if I am not happy with this answer I don't need to pay the £22 and it is only a £3 deposit
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

The next steps are to bring this position to your employer's attention, if they refuse to change their mind then you can raise a formal grievance, if that is rejected you can appeal the outcome with them, if you are still unsuccessful then you would be looking at taking this to the employment tribunal and claiming unfair dismissal as long as you have at least 2 years' service