Termination of Employment
A contract of employment may be ended by mutual agreement or by the employer or employee giving the required notice of termination. If the employer fails to give the required notice the employee can make a claim to the courts for damages for wrongful dismissal. Alternatively, if the employment has been terminated, a claim can be made to an industrial tribunal.
Where the employee leaves without giving the required notice, the employer may also have, in certain circumstances, a right to claim damages in the courts.
Either party can terminate the contract without notice if the conduct of the other justifies it e.g. an employee committing an act of gross misconduct may justify dismissal without notice. The full three-stage standard statutory procedure should always be used before deciding whether to dismiss. Resignation without notice (and a possible claim of constructive dismissal) may be justified where the employer makes a 'fundamental' or 'repudiatory' breach of the contract. Whether or not the breach is considered fundamental will depend on the particular circumstances but may include such actions as a reduction in pay, withdrawal of benefits or change of duties. In the event of a dispute, the question of justification can finally be determined only by the courts.