Dismissal had to be communicated

09 November 2016

Ms Sandle was an agency worker employed by the recruitment and employment business, Adecco, which provides temporary agency workers to its clients. When the assignment Ms Sandle had been working on came to an end, Adecco didn’t take proactive steps to find other work for her.

Sandle v Adecco

Ms Sandle was an agency worker employed by the recruitment and employment business, Adecco, which provides temporary agency workers to its clients.

When the assignment Ms Sandle had been working on came to an end, Adecco didn’t take proactive steps to find other work for her. It made little attempt to contact her (nor did she make any attempt to contact Adecco). Adecco assumed that she wasn’t interested in any more agency work, but didn’t check.

Ms Sandle’s unfair dismissal case depended on her having been dismissed by Adecco. Had she been? No, held the Tribunal. Adecco hadn’t communicated a dismissal and so the employment relationship was ongoing when she issued her claim.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed. Although dismissal can sometimes be implied from the way an employer has acted, the employer still needs to have communicated its unequivocal intention to dismiss the employee. Communication might be by conduct, but the important thing is that the employee is aware of it.

However, had Ms Sandle chosen to resign in response to Adecco’s failure to use its best efforts to promote her to its clients to maximise her assignment opportunities, that might well have been a constructive dismissal.

 


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