No dismissal: chef opted to 'grab knives and go'

Cases

No dismissal: chef opted to 'grab knives and go'

A chef’s decision to ‘grab his knives and go’ was an act of resignation, not a dismissal, the Fair Work Commission has ruled.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

By Rachel O'Connor

A chef’s decision to ‘grab his knives and go’ was an act of resignation, not a dismissal, the Fair Work Commission has ruled. 

Background


John Quinn was working as a head chef at the Virginia Tavern in Palmerston in the Northern Territory.

After returning from four weeks of leave, he met with the owner Damien O’Brien. They discussed his recent work performance and problems with food wastage, hygiene and preparation.

Mr Quinn responded by saying ‘I’ll grab my knives and go’, which his employer interpreted as a resignation.

Mr Quinn, however, argued that he was unfairly dismissed. He said he was told he was being let go due to food wastage issues.

Mr O’Brien said he had spoken with Mr Quinn about issues at work in the hope he would embrace the feedback and change his ways. His response, ‘I’ll grab my knives and go’, suggested he would not be coming back to work. 

Dismissal or resignation?


Commissioner Nick Wilson found that Mr Quinn had resigned. He said Mr O’Brien had no intention of dismissing the applicant when meeting with him on the morning of the 8 February. The problems raised with the applicant were all within an ordinary course of work.   

The commissioner found Mr Quinn had the intention to resign when he said the words, ‘I’ll take my knives and go’. It was not just a ‘heat of the moment’ action as there was a reasonable period of time between the resignation and acceptance. In fact, Mr Quinn returned to the tavern that evening with no mention of returning.

The commissioner further ruled that he was not forced to resign as prior to this discussion there had been no warnings or questions raised about his employment.

The application was dismissed. 

John Quinn v Virginia Tavern (U2017/1814) [2017] FWC 4145
Post details