How To Deal With A Verbal Resignation
Verbal resignations given in the ‘heat of the moment’ should never be accepted as there have been many unfair dismissal cases won on these grounds.
If the employee was angry or upset, the decision may have been rash and the employee might regret it. In these circumstances it’s important to give the employee a cooling off period during which they may decide to retract their resignation.
If the employee makes it clear during the cooling off period that they did not intend to resign, you must give them their job back. Refusal would amount to dismissal, which would probably be unfair.
My recommended approach would be to:
- Allow the employee to calm down and collect their thoughts;
- Telephone the employee within a reasonable period of time to invite them to a meeting to discuss the circumstances that led up to their resignation, bearing in mind that making enquiries on the same day is likely to be too soon;
- Make a record of the events that took place, including the employee’s explanation of events; and
- Once the employee has confirmed their intentions, send the employee a letter setting out what took place and confirming whether the resignation stands or has been withdrawn.
The letters should be sent to the last known address of the employee by first class post, there is no legal requirement to send them by recorded mail.