Many thanks for your patience. Whilst a resignation which is clear and unambiguous cannot be retracted without the employer’s consent, there are circumstances when an employee may resign in the heat of the moment, such as during an argument. It could be an official resignation, or an act that implies resignation, such as clearing their desk, leaving keys/passes or saying they will never return. In such situations they might not really have meant to resign but did so on impulse. Therefore, their resignation would not meet the criteria of being clear and unambiguous and may not be immediately binding.
In such circumstances the employer should not automatically assume that the employee had actually resigned and should allow a short cooling off period to see what their actual intentions were. A couple of cases have considered such situations in the past - Kwik-Fit Ltd v Lineham and Ali v Birmingham City Council. It was decided that an appropriate period for the employee to change their mind was "likely to be a day or two".
Therefore, in circumstances where an apparent resignation has occurred in the heat of the moment, the employer would be expected to give the employee a couple of days before treating their actions as a formal resignation. That time should be used by the employer to contact the employee in order to clarify their position, such as asking them to submit their resignation in writing if they actually meant it. Failure to do so and take their resignation at face value could be treated as a dismissal instead, which could be challenged as being unfair in the employment tribunal.
However, if you had made attempts to contact him and he did not respond and no news were heard for some time, then you can assume that he has resigned and challenge any such claim.
Does this answer your query?