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In the Heat of the moment 2: You’re sacked! Are you?

Angry words or actions can leave both employer and employee unclear of their impact on the employment relationship. In a recent case, according to the employer, he said to his employee:

“Get out, this argument has got nothing to do with you.”

According to the employee, the words spoken were:

“Get out, leave and don’t come back.”

There was no further contact between employer and employee. The employer considered that there had been a resignation. The employee considered that he had been dismissed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal considered that their actions (or inactions) were consistent with either.


Clarifying any ambiguity can avoid litigation. Where things are said or done “in the heat of the moment”, employers should always try to write to the employee, to confirm its understanding of what took place. So if an employer believes that the employee has resigned, it should write to the employee, saying so.

Case: Dalitis v Plissi [2008]


Employment Department

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