Rogers & Norton News

Dismissal versus mutual termination

Friday, September 20, 2013

Francis v Pertemps Recruitment

Mr Francis was employed by the agency, Pertemps. He was no longer needed by the agency’s client and was given two options: either two weeks’ notice plus redundancy pay, or two weeks’ notice with Pertemps looking for new work for him.

He chose the first, and Pertemps wrote to him confirming his “formal notice of redundancy”. He was told that he had the right to “appeal against the decision to terminate [his] employment”.

Was this a dismissal or, as Pertemps argued, a mutually agreed termination? It was a dismissal, said the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Even though Mr Francis had been given choices about the terms of his departure, both options involved him being given notice. The language used by Pertemps pointed to this being an employer’s termination.

A warning then that what may seem consensual (wholly or partly) will not necessarily be judged to be. What was the trigger? How were terms agreed? What language was used? These could all be important factors in any termination, particularly if an unfair dismissal claim happens to follow.