East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust v Levy UKEAT/0232/17/LA

Appeal against a finding that the Claimant had not resigned but had been dismissed by the Respondent. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant received a conditional offer for a post within the same organisation where she currently worked but this offer was subsequently withdrawn. By then, she had written to her current manager saying: "Please accept one month's notice from the above date" - her 'notice of resignation' was accepted. After the other offer was withdrawn, she sought to retract her 'notice of resignation' but this was not accepted by the Respondent and her employment ended. She won her claim of unfair dismissal at the ET and the Respondent appealed.

The EAT dismissed the appeal. Although the word "notice" in the employment context might generally signify an unambiguous notification of termination of the contract, that was not so in the particular circumstances of this case; the Claimant had an offer of a position within another department and her "notice" could equally be taken to refer to her notification of her departure from the current department. Given the ambiguity arising from the Claimant's letter giving notice, the ET had correctly applied an objective test when determining how the words used would have been understood by the reasonable recipient of the letter.


Published: 19/09/2018 10:56

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