The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s recent accusatory and emotionally charged resignation letter as an MP has prompted David Sheppard and Beca Hayes to consider the best ways to manage employees who send parting shot termination notices.
Dealing with an employee resignation can be difficult, especially if an employee leaves on bad terms, and has a several more weeks or months to work during their notice period. However, it is imperative that employers respond in the correct manner to ensure that departures are handled smoothly and with minimal disruption to their business.
Here is some guidance on some of the steps you should follow when receiving an employee’s resignation:
By discussing these points with the departing employee, the risks of misunderstandings or disputes are minimized.
We also recommend agreeing with the employee, particularly senior or influential employees, the terms of an announcement and its timing to other staff and external client and suppliers concerning their departure. The employee should be restricted from communicating with colleagues and external contacts outside the terms of any agreed announcement, as it gives them scope to create their own narrative as to their reason for leaving, and a platform for competing against their employer in the future.
If the employee has raised allegations in their resignation letter, it may be necessary to meet with the employee to discuss these issues as an exit interview and invite them to raise a formal grievance if they wish to pursue these complaints further. Very often, employees will send a parting shot resignation letter as part of a claim for constructive dismissal, therefore how the employer responds and manages the allegations will be relevant in defending any future claim. A well-prepared grievance investigation can have the potential to rebut any allegations and be the evidential basis for the employer to defend any constructive dismissal complaint in the tribunal.
Crucially, you should keep in mind that dealing with resignations is an essential part of managing a business. You should aim to streamline the process and implement a uniform way of handling resignations correctly. This should allow you to remove a significant amount of discomfort from the situation, enabling you to focus on recruiting suitable replacements.
If you need further advice on handling employee resignations or are seeking general Employment advice, contact our team of expert employment lawyers.