Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

Constructive dismissal: notice period and affirmation of contract

An employee can accept (affirm) a repudiatory breach of contract if a longer notice period is given than required by the contract of employment. This will thereby forfeit their ability to claim constructive dismissal.

The facts of this case — Cockram (‘C’) v Air Products plc (‘A’) — concerned C who resigned from his employment in response to the outcome of a grievance procedure that he considered to be a fundamental breach by A of the implied term of trust and confidence. In his letter of resignation, he gave seven months’ notice rather than the contractual three months. C’s letter of resignation stated that: ‘I have no other work secured to enable me to leave immediately and I need to work for a reasonable period of time and it is for this reason only that I am giving notice.’ …

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