Timing of constructive dismissal resignation

18th June 2014

Timing of constructive dismissal resignation

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In Cockram v Air Products plc, Mr Cockram resigned when his employer had rejected his grievance and this, Mr Cockram said, was a fundamental breach of the implied term of trust and confidence between the two of them. But rather than resign and leave straight away, or simply giving his three months’ contractual notice, he told his employer that he would carry on working for seven months. The reason was that he had no other job to go to and he wanted to give himself time to find other work. Could he still claim constructive dismissal?

No, said the Employment Appeal Tribunal. By giving longer than the minimum amount of contractual notice, Mr Cockram had “affirmed the contract”. If he found his employer’s treatment to be so bad that he couldn’t reasonably be expected to continue working, he couldn’t then logically be willing to work on for four months beyond his 3 months notice.

But remember that, generally speaking, an employee who chooses to give notice may still be able to claim constructive dismissal if (a) the notice is no more than their contractual notice, and (b) they are resigning in response to their employer’s fundamental breach of contract.

Need to speak to someone about an employment issue? Contact one of our employment lawyers on 01473 211121 or employment@gotelee.co.uk who would be happy to help.

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