28 October 2016 #Employment
In the recent EAT case of Sandle v Adecco UK Ltd, Mrs Sandle was an agency worker employed by Adecco and working on assignment at a third party. The assignment came to an end and then a stalemate ensued. The Agency did not actively look to find other work for Mrs Sandle and made little attempt to contact her. Equally, Mrs Sandle did not contact the Agency.
Mrs Sandle claimed unfair dismissal. On appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal stated that, while it is possible to imply a direct dismissal from the employer’s conduct without needing express notice, there must still be an “unequivocal intention to dismiss” communicated to the employee. The EAT found that Adecco’s lack of attempt to find Mrs Sandle work did not amount to a dismissal implied by conduct. The EAT concluded that Mrs Sandle had not been impliedly dismissed, nor had she impliedly resigned and therefore she could not claim unfair dismissal.
The case highlights that employers should not assume that an employment relationship has ended due to a period of inactivity or no communication. In the case of a dismissal, employers should be thorough and avoid any doubt by ensuring that a dismissal is clearly communicated. Similarly, in the event of a lack of communication from an employee and a suspected resignation, it is advisable to confirm these suspicions to the employee in writing and ask for clarification.
For further information on unfair dismissal please contact our employment law team on firstname.lastname@example.org