Ms Levy was employed by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust since 29 March 2006 as an Assistant Administrator. Ms Levy had experienced various issues during her employment and had a difficult relationship with one of her colleagues. She had also been spoken to regarding her absence record.
As Ms Levy became unhappy in her role, she applied for a different role within the trust. She was informed she was successful on 9th June 2016 subject to pre-engagement checks. On 10th June 2016, an issue occurred between Ms Levy and a colleague and this led to Ms Levy handing a letter to her Manager stating “Please accept one month’s notice from the above date. Her manager responded by letter on the same day accepting her resignation and confirmed that her last day would be 8th July 2016.
On 16th June 2016, Ms Levy heard that the offer for the new position within the trust had been withdrawn. Ms Levy spoke to HR who told her that withdrawing her notice was within her manager’s discretion. Her Manager took the view that Ms Levy’s absence record was such that she would not be offered a position in open competition and she should therefore not be permitted to retract her resignation. This decision was relayed in writing to Ms Levy on 24th June 2016.
Ms Levy brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The trust argued that she had not been dismissed but had resigned.
Employment Tribunal Decision
The tribunal identified the context in which the words were used: Ms Levy was unhappy in the records department, she had applied for a new role within the Trust and had received a conditional offer, she was unaware that her employment history might adversely affect the conditional offer and she needed to work to support herself and her family and to assist in caring for her father.
The tribunal concluded, on the balance of probabilities, that Ms Levy had established that she did not resign from her employment but was dismissed by the Trust’s letter of 24th June 2016, when it treated her letter of 10 June as a valid resignation.
Employment Appeal Tribunal Decision
The EAT dismissed the appeal.
The main issue of the case was identifying what Ms Levy had said on 10th June 2016 and the tribunal had been entitled to find the notice was related to her role in the records department and not a resignation from the Trust completely.