Resignations in the heat of the moment reconsidered

7 December 2023

In Omar v Epping Forest District Citizens Advice, the EAT has held that an employment tribunal erred in finding that an employee’s resignation in the heat of the moment was really intended.

On 19 February 2020, the employee resigned from his employment ‘in the heat of the moment’ during an altercation with his line manager. In a subsequent meeting on the same day, the company CEO, recognised that he wished to continue in employment. At a meeting on 21 February, the first thing the employer said to the employee was that his manager no longer wanted to work with him, so his resignation would still stand. The employee was asked to confirm his resignation in writing, but never did.

The EAT found that the tribunal failed to direct itself properly in accordance with the applicable legal principles and failed to make adequate findings of fact relevant to the core question of whether, viewing the situation objectively from the perspective of the reasonable employer, the employee not only used words that when construed in accordance with normal contractual principles constituted words of resignation, but also that objectively it would have appeared to the reasonable employer that he ‘really intended’ to resign.

In terms of the post resignation events, the EAT said the resignation must be ‘seriously meant’, or ‘really intended’, or ‘conscious and rational’. Evidence as to what happened afterwards is admissible insofar as it is relevant and casts light, objectively, on whether the resignation/dismissal was ‘really intended’ at the time.

The EAT ordered that the case be remitted to a fresh tribunal for a full rehearing.



Daniel Hobbs

Call 1998

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