Resignation and termination of employment

A contract of employment may be ended with the agreement of both parties, or by the employer or employee giving the required amount of notice.

Termination of employment

If the employer does not give the required amount of notice the employee can make a claim to an industrial tribunal for wrongful dismissal.  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 end the contract without notice if the behaviour of the other justifies it e.g. an employee committing an act of gross misconduct may justify dismissal without notice.  However, the full ‘three-stage standard statutory procedure’ for dismissal should always be used before making the decision to dismiss an employee.


Resignation by the employee without notice (and a possible claim of constructive dismissal) may be justified where the employer makes a 'fundamental' or ‘repudiatory’ breach of contract.  Things like a reduction in pay, withdrawal of benefits or a change of duties MAY be considered a fundamental breach, but it will depend on the particular circumstances. In this situation if the two parties can’t agree only the courts can decide if ending the contract without notice was justified.

Last updated: 22 May 2019