FAQs: Resignation

What is a resignation?

A resignation occurs when an employee informs their employer that they will be terminating their employment contract. This is in contrast to the employment contract coming to the end of its term, or the employer dismissing the employee.

Must a resignation be made in writing?

Some employment contracts specify that a resignation must be made in writing. If not, a resignation may be made orally. However, it is normally best for the resignation to be followed up in writing. A resignation made in writing should clearly set out the amount of notice the employee is giving and which day will be their last day of employment.

Does a resignation have to set out a reason?

It is not essential that a resignation sets out the reason for the employee resigning. However, it may be a good opportunity for the employee to set out those reasons in a considered form. However, if there is any potential legal issue arising, such as a claim for constructive dismissal, legal advice should be sought as to whether this should be included in the resignation letter.

Can a resignation constitute constructive dismissal?

If an employee resigns due to the course of conduct of the employer, this may constitute constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns because they feel they have no other choice, given the behaviour of the employer. An employee can make a claim against their employer for constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

What sorts of situation gives rise to constructive dismissal?

Discriminatory or bullying behaviour is one situation that might lead to a resignation being characterised as constructive dismissal. Similarly, if an employer fails to provide safe methods of work and a safe working environment, an employee’s subsequent resignation for this reason may constitute constructive dismissal. Alternatively, if an employer substantially changes an employee’s responsibilities, such as demoting them or reducing their responsibility, this could also give rise to constructive dismissal if the employee leaves because of it.

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