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Employee who gave notice anticipating internal transfer had not resigned from employment

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has upheld a tribunal decision regarding an employee’s written notice – that it related to an anticipated internal change of jobs and was not notice of resignation from employment.

It was upheld by the EAT that the words that were used in the notice had not been clear and unambiguous. Furthermore, the context in which the words had been used meant there were “special circumstances” which required them to be construed objectively.

It was asked by the tribunal how the employee’s notice would have been construed by a reasonable recipient in light of those circumstances known to the recipient at the time of receiving the notice. It was concluded by the tribunal that the employer had misunderstood the employee to be resigning from employment. When the employer subsequently treated the employee’s notice as a valid resignation, it dismissed her.

Employers should therefore treat employee’s notice carefully.