There can sometimes be a dispute about exactly when an employee’s employment actually ended (the effective date of termination). This applies particularly when notice is given by methods such as post and email, because generally speaking, notice can only be effective when it is received by the other party.
You may recall that we previously wrote about the Gisda Cyf v Barratt case where a dismissal letter had been delivered and signed for by someone else at her house, but was not read by the employee until several days later. In that case, dismissal was only effective once the employee herself read the letter.
In the recent case of Horwood v Lincolnshire County Council however, different rules applied when it was the employee who was terminating the contract. Here the employee wrote to her employer indicating that she was resigning with immediate effect. The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that her effective date of termination was the date on which the letter was opened and date-stamped at the employer’s office, and not when it reached the particular person to whom it was addressed.
The decision does appear to show an inconsistency between the position of an employer and an employee when it comes to issuing notice, and although the circumstances may seem unusual, it is something that employers would be wise to be aware of.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team 01243 836840 or [email protected].