Fair Work decides if worker was bound by three signed letters of resignation
A worker recently filed a dismissal claim against his employer after the latter didn’t accept the revocation of his resignation. The employer argued that the worker resigned in three valid letters that were binding and enforceable against him.
The worker, Stephen Gock, filed an application for unfair dismissal before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) against his employer, BNP Paribas. The employer raised a jurisdictional objection, arguing that Gock was not "dismissed" as per the definition under the Fair Work Act.
Gock started his employment with the employer on a fixed-term contract in February 2018, later becoming a permanent employee. On April 13, 2022, he tendered his resignation, which was subsequently extended multiple times.
In a letter dated July 28, 2023, Gock communicated several concerns and demands to the employer, including the rescission of his resignation and allegations of undue pressure.
On August 1, 2023, the employer informed Gock that further secondment could not be secured, and his employment would end on July 31, 2023, as previously agreed.
Was resignation revoked?
The worker argued that “he revoked his resignation,” however, the FWC said that “there is no evidence (documentary or otherwise) of such resignation revocation.”
The employer also denied that the [worker] ever made it aware that he had revoked his resignation.
“An employee’s resignation cannot be revoked without his or her employer’s approval. Nor can it be said, as a matter of law, that the [worker’s] acceptance of a secondment gives rise to some form of automatic resignation revocation,” the FWC said.
Valid and enforceable terms
The FWC said that the letters signed by the worker are “valid and enforceable on their terms, as between the [employer] and [him.]”
“It should not be overlooked that to sign a document known and intended to affect legal relations is an act which itself ordinarily conveys a representation to a reasonable reader of the document,” the FWC said.
“The representation is that the person who signs either has read and approved the contents of the document or is willing to take the chance of being bound by those contents,” it added.
Thus, the FWC said that the worker was not dismissed and rejected his application against his employer.