Resignation – In the Heat of the Moment

Resignation – In the Heat of the Moment

Can a resignation not be a resignation?

Just last week I was involved in a situation surrounding whether a verbal resignation given in a heated argument between an employer and employee should be treated as a bona fide resignation. My advice was and always is that in cases where a resignation has been delivered verbally in an argument or blow up, employers should allow what we call “a cooling off period”, then seek written confirmation of the resignation within a reasonable time period.

There is no specific time but importantly, allowing the employee to calm down, cool off and see if they still want to resign, will be seen as a very appropriate approach to the situation. If they do still want to resign it is critical obtaining written notice because if the employee later disputes their resignation with an unfair dismissal claim, the written note after a cool down period will be vital.

In circumstances where an employee refuses to provide a written statement of resignation, employers should ensure they keep a detailed notes and dates as well as a written version of events from any witnesses.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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