No obligation to put resignation in writing

Cases

No obligation to put resignation in writing

An employee who resigned from his employment had full knowledge of what he was doing and so his employment was not terminated at the initiative of the employer.

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An employee who resigned from his employment had full knowledge of what he was doing and so his employment was not terminated at the initiative of the employer.

The employee had been employed as a printer and was well thought of in the company. The employee had been called to a meeting with two representatives from management to discuss concerns the employer had with the employee's performance over the previous couple of months. The meeting was not intended to be a disciplinary meeting (Ngo v Link Printing Pty Ltd; Print R0846, [1999] 043 IRCommA).

During the meeting, the allegations relating to the employee's performance were put to him. The employee made no comments in relation to the allegations until he tendered his resignation. It was decided at the meeting to accept the employee's resignation and he was asked to provide his resignation in writing the next day.

The following day, when the employee commenced his shift, he was asked for his resignation, to which he replied that he had changed his mind. The employer refused to allow him to withdraw his resignation. They also decided to pay-out the employee his notice rather than allow him to work for fear of sabotage.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission considered whether the employee's 'termination was at the initiative of the employer or whether the [employee] resigned having full knowledge of what he did'. According to the Commission, the employee had been invited to a meeting with management to discuss the quality of his work. The employee had not received any warnings or counselling about his work performance in the past. The meeting the employee attended was not a disciplinary meeting but rather an opportunity to discuss the production and quality of his work.

Further, the Commission found there were no special circumstances that when a person gives notice there is no obligation to put that notice in writing. The contract of employment is terminated at the giving of that notice.

In all the circumstances, the Commission was satisfied the termination was at the initiative of the employee and that the employer's action did not directly or indirectly result in the termination of employment. As such, the application was beyond the Commission's jurisdiction.

 

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