Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Employer entitled to accept letter of resignation

The Commission has dismissed an unfair dismissal application where the applicant alleged that the conduct of the respondent and its staff forced her to resign from her employment.

On 14 January 2019, the applicant attended a meeting with the respondent's practice manager to discuss complaints about her behaviour. Following this meeting the applicant left the workplace and later provided medical certificates that stated she was unfit for work until 3 February 2019. On 22 January 2019 the applicant sent a letter of resignation with immediate effect to the respondent. Commissioner Walkington considered a jurisdictional question raised by the respondent about whether the letter of resignation sent by the applicant was a voluntary resignation.

Walkington C considered that the two versions of events from the meeting on 14 January 2019 differed, but that on either version it was not inappropriate for the practice manager to discuss the concerns that colleagues held for the applicant's attitude and conduct. The Commissioner found that the respondent's conduct did not result directly or consequently in the termination of the applicant's employment. Further, Walkington C held that even if the applicant had written the letter of resignation in an emotional state, she had not resigned in the heat of the moment because she had also sent a second letter on 25 January 2019 after she had had time to reflect and consider her options. This second letter did not revoke the previous letter of resignation and did not express any regret that the applicant may have had in resigning.

Walkington C found that although the applicant was clearly unwell and stressed, the respondent was entitled to accept her letter of resignation, particularly as it had been confirmed by the second letter. The Commission dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction.

The decision can be read here.

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