Let's say I work as an employee at a company, and have a contract that states I must give a minimum of 1 month's notice in writing to resign.

In trying to be fair to my employer, and to give them additional time to hire a replacement, I give them 2 months notice in writing.

My employer then immediately terminates my employment with 1 months notice (which is the minimum required by the contract).

Was my resignation a legal reason for the employer to dismiss me?

  • 3
    I think you are confused by the slang use of "termination" as a gracious euphemism for "you are fired", and thus considering all terminations to be hostile firings. I don't think that's right. I think what you have here is a termination that is not a firing. Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 2:13
  • 4
    @Harper-ReinstateMonica I'm not sure if this is a language barrier issue or what, but I don't see what the difference is. Is a "firing" legally distinct from a "termination"? Does it make a difference since OP is asking about termination anyway?
    – bdb484
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 13:42
  • 1
    @bdb484 it presumably varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Here in Sweden, "terminated" and "fired" are legally distinct. Termination—"uppsägning" in Swedish—is something you can only do for some fairly specific reasons, such as a reduction in workforce due, redundancies, bankruptcy, etc. Firing someone can also only be done in some situtations, but they are less specific. Breach of contract, abusive behaviour, that sort of thing. In that case no notice period is required. This is just an example of how "terminated" and "fired" can be different; no idea how it applies to the UK.
    – SimonL
    Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


The legal reasons for dismissal in the UK are described here: it includes such things as being unable to do your job, redundancy, violence on the job, being sent to prison, the factory burning down. It does not include quitting. "Unfair dismissal" is described here, and it says

Situations when your dismissal is likely to be unfair include if you...resigned and gave the correct notice period

This page then describes recourse for unfair dismissal.

§108(1) of the Employment Rights Act says that

Section 94 does not apply to the dismissal of an employee unless he has been continuously employed for a period of not less than two years ending with the effective date of termination.

§94(1) then says that "An employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by his employer". §108(2) also lists numerous cases where the two-year tenure condition does not apply. Most of those reasons clearly don't apply to the act of giving notice (it includes e,g, pregnancy, whistle-blowing etc), which means that any firing because an employee is pregnant (etc.) is automatically unfair, regardless of duration of employment. §104 which is within the set of conditions that are "automatically unfair" is "Assertion of statutory right",

(1)An employee who is dismissed shall be regarded for the purposes of this Part as unfairly dismissed if the reason (or, if more than one, the principal reason) for the dismissal is that the employee—

(a)brought proceedings against the employer to enforce a right of his which is a relevant statutory right, or

(b)alleged that the employer had infringed a right of his which is a relevant statutory right.

However, the reason for being fired in this case has nothing to do with bringing proceedings against the employer, or alleging infringement of a statutory right. As far as I can determine, being fired because you quit is not deemed automatically unfair in the sense of short-circuiting the two year employment requirement; and for an employee with less than two years of service, no justification is necessary.

  • Could it be argued that an employee has a statutory right to resign (I'm not sure if such a right exists, but slavery is illegal)? It does look like that wouldn't work because untill their dismissal the employee in this case has neither brought procedings against the employer (the proceedings would be caused by the dismissal, not the cause of it) nor alleged any infringement (the allegation would be caused by the dismissal, not the cause of it). Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 10:19
  • @RichardWard note that it only says that applies if you bring proceedings against the employer to enforce a statutory right. Even if resigning with notice beyond the contractual minimum is a statutory right (which is far from clear to me), handing in your notice is certainly not bringing proceedings of any kind, and so this clause would not apply. If you tried to resign with extra notice, your employer refused to acknowledge the extra notice and you then sought a court judgement for the extra period, and then they terminated you, then the question might arise
    – Tristan
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 14:34
  • 4
    @RichardWard Usually employer and employee have the same notice period. If your contract says 4 weeks notice and you give 4 weeks notice, then the employer can give you four weeks notice but that would be pointless. In this case here OP gives two months notice (twice what's required) and the employer gives 4 weeks notice (what is legally required). Imagine I could give 5 years notice and that would stop my employer from firing me. Or I got wind that I'm going to be laid off and give two months notice to get one month more pay.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 17:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .