< Back to News & Views


In the Heat of the moment 1: I resign, No, I don’t

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure” – the same can sometimes be said about a resignation.

In Ali v Birmingham City Council [2008], Mr Ali gave his resignation letter to his manager. The manager thought that he seemed upset, so gave him some time (about 30 minutes) to reconsider. At the end of this period, Mr Ali had not changed his mind.

Two days later, Mr Ali telephoned the Council, who confirmed that his resignation remained. Two days after that, he informed his manager that he wanted to withdraw his resignation. The Council did not agree, so he brought unfair dismissal proceedings.

Mr Ali’s contention was that he had resigned “in the heat of the moment”, so that his resignation should not have stood. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that Mr Ali had resigned.


When a resignation seems to be a “snap decision”, it is prudent to give the employee some time to reflect on his/her decision. As Mr Ali’s case shows, this can be quite brief. And it will only be in exceptional circumstances when an employee can rely on “the heat of the moment” to avoid the consequences of his or her decision to resign.


Employment Department

Raj Dhokia: r.dhokia@fgdlaw.co.uk