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Unfair Dismissal – Claimant’s Resignation?- no exit interview and lack of records

The recent case of Jackie Drumm v Electricity Supply Board demonstrates amongst other matters the need for accurate paperwork and employee records especially when an employee resigns from their employment.Here the claimant commenced employment with the respondent in 2000 as a clerical officer at its call centre in Cork. In May 2009 the claimant went on maternity leave and also took a period of unpaid leave (the unpaid leave was agreed by telephone call only) for a total period of 12 months.In May 2010 the claimant enquired around outstanding holidays and her return to work date. No arrangement was reached or no correspondence entered into and the Claimant assumed she was on annual leave. The Claimant again asked her team leader for a return to work date and no date had been given by the end of July 2010.Whilst preparing to go on annual leave, the claimant received a telephone call from her team leader telling her that she was due back to work the following week. The claimant replied that she was going on annual leave and would need to sort out her child care arrangements. The claimant stated that it was a cordial conversation.Upon returning from annual leave, the claimant stated that she was gutted to receive her Form P45 in the post. The claimant acknowledged that she received a voicemail in early August from her team leader but stated that she did not resign. The claimant stated that she had received no written correspondence from the respondent throughout the process concerning her status and arrangement regarding her return to work.The claimant’s team leader stated that at the end of July she had contacted the claimant to state that her application for a career break had been refused and to enquire around when the claimant might return to work. The team leader stated that she wanted the claimant to return to work within two weeks. The team leader was surprised when the claimant verbally submitted her resignation and the claimant was asked to reconsider. The team leader stated that the claimant had said that she would send in a letter upon her return from holidays.The team leader phoned the Claimant on 6th August to remind her of her resignation letter and left her a voicemail. Two further attempts were made to contact the claimant by telephone as no resignation letter had been received. In addition no exit interview took place.Determination

  1. The Tribunal were unanimously of the view that the Claimant did not resign which was somewhat supported by the view that there was no letter stating that nor was there any indication of a cooling off period. In addition no exit interview took place.
  2. The Tribunal noted that the human resources section accepted in cross-examination that the respondent’s personnel system was “all over the place and records were not kept up to date”.

The Tribunal noted that the Claimant could have taken greater care and interest in establishing her return to the workplace but that the Claimant’s unfair dismissal claim succeeds. In this case re-engagement was ordered.

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