Correspondence over email or fax (and at a push, letter) are surely just products of our technological age. However, when it comes to informing work of your resignation, or even receiving a notice of dismissal, it seems the law has something very particular to say about the right method of communication.
We have seen numerous cases where dates of termination of employment were left confused with the consequence that an employment tribunal had to decide on which date the employment was rightfully terminated on. The law provides that handing in your resignation is in fact an action governed by Statute (written law) and not just any old provisions made by your employer. More specifically, your effective date of termination is something that can only take effect on actual notification.
This means notice by letter, email or fax can still be valid, but only if the content explicitly confirms the resignation, and leaves no scope for being conditional or vague. Whilst you may think that a difference of a couple of days in what is regarded as your effective date of termination in law, carries no big implications, it does become crucial when actioning a claim. Strict time limitations on employment claims means the whole success of your claim could be dependant on the disputed date of your termination of employment. The matter can get further complicated by letters not being read as straight away.
This has commonly been the case with dismissals, where letters sent have not been read immediately on arrival due to individuals being away on holiday. Case law suggests that the employment tribunal would decide in favour of the employee by ruling this date to only commence once the employee has read the letter, or at least had a reasonable chance of reading it (as opposed to actively avoiding it).
We mention these instances to you to highlight the benefit of employers and employees alike, communicating in the form of actual notice in writing and in person. This is always the ideal as it avoids the confusion over the precise date of termination, which can then allow employment claims to be actioned well within the time limit.
Pinder Reaux & Associates