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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48169
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a 3 months notice period but handed in my notice 5 weeks

Customer Question

I have a 3 months notice period but handed in my notice 5 weeks ago requesting release in 8 weeks. I received no formal response. Today with 3 days to leave I have been told they will start proceedings for breach of contract. Where do I stand. I hold a no. Senior position at an oil refinery
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know if you followed any required formal procedure when you submitted your notice in?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
For Ben jones only. Request was for notice to be written with requested leaving date. I submitted this 7th march, and to date have had no formal response. A colleague who left 2weeks earlier gave only 2 weeks notice and had no such comeback and I believe I am the first who they have decided to proceed with breach of contract. I asked is it there usual response and the HH manager said it is at there discretion
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
There are no statutory requirements as to the mechanics of giving or receiving a notice of termination of employment. How a notice is given will mainly depend on the contractual requirementa as the contract ma soecify exactly how this must be done, such as in writing, to a specific person, etc. it is rare to have a contractual requirement that notice of termination must be accepted in a particular way or with any special formality. The actual position at common law is that a notice, once validly given, is effective and can neither be "refused" by the recipient nor "withdrawn" by the person giving it, without the other's agreement.

However, here is where the main issue arises. If you have given the employer notice in breach of contract, which means notice that did not conform with the contractual requirements, such as shorter notice, it will usually not be effective if the employer chooses not to accept it, or does not communicate their acceptance. This is what appears to have happened here.

Saying that it is extremely rare for employers to actually go ahead and sue an employee for breach of contract in such circumstances especially as the losses they could recover will mainly be limited to costs associated with finding a replacement and the effort and costs are more than they may actually recover and not worth it. So they could be bluffing although that is of course not a guarantee in any way.

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