Chelmsford College Corporation v Teal (Jurisdictional Points : Continuity of employment), Court of Appeal - United Kingdom Employment Appeal Tribunal, February 07, 2012, [2011] UKEAT 0277_11_0701

Resolution Date:February 07, 2012
Issuing Organization:United Kingdom Employment Appeal Tribunal
Actores:Chelmsford College Corporation v Teal (Jurisdictional Points : Continuity of employment)

Copyright 2012

Appeal No. UKEAT/0277/11/CEA



At the Tribunal

On 14 November 2011

Judgment handed down on 7 February 2012






Transcript of Proceedings






JURISDICTIONAL POINTS - Continuity of employment

Appeal on the issue of whether the claim was in time to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. The Employment Judge had wrongly held that what took place was a ``conditional dismissal''. This was an error of law: CF Capital plc v Willoughby [2011] IRLR 985. However, he was correct to find that the unilateral resignation had been withdrawn with the consent of the employer and the employment therefore continued until a further unilateral resignation which was accepted by the employer. Time began to run from the date of the second resignation.





1. This is an appeal from the Judgment and Reasons of Employment Judge Pritchard, sitting alone at the East London Hearing Centre on 14 January 2011. The Judgment and Reasons were sent to the parties on 16 March 2011. The Employment Judge held that Mrs Teal had the requisite continuity of employment to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. The claim was presented in time relative to a termination date of 12 February 2010.

2. The Appellant was represented by Mr Jake Dutton, Solicitor-Advocate, and the Respondent was represented by Mr Timothy Adkin of counsel. I am grateful to both for their written and oral submissions.

The factual background

3. The Employment Judge did not hear oral evidence. At paragraphs 1-20 he made findings of fact. They can be summarised in this way:

(1) The Claimant was a fixed-term lecturer on a contract characterised by the Respondent as a `zero' hours contract, meaning that she was paid for hours actually performed rather than a fixed salary. On 30 November 2009, her line manager informed her that he would not remunerate her in respect of overtime hours claimed in the academic year. In response, and on the same date, she wrote a letter of resignation stating that ``it is with great sadness I have to offer you my resignation with immediate effect''. The College construed her letter of 30 November 2009 as a letter of grievance.

(2) On 2 December 2009, Ms Rachel Jessen, a Human Resources Officer, wrote to the Claimant inviting her to attend a grievance hearing on 8 December 2009, and stating that she could not accept her resignation until the grievance had been resolved. The grievance hearing proceeded as scheduled on 8 December 2009. On 16 December 2009, Ms Jessen wrote to the Claimant. The material part of the letter says this:

``Having investigated your grievance I can confirm that the College will pay you for the 77.5 hours that you have claimed for but has not been paid. This will be paid in your January pay. Further, after careful consideration, the College will allow you to rescind your resignation. However, the College cannot be put in the position again where you walk out on the students because you feel aggrieved. Whilst I accept that you were very unhappy with the situation you were in and regret the effect this has had on the students, our first priority is to the students and this must not happen again. As you are aware, the College grievance procedure is in place to deal with any issues that cannot be resolved with your line manager, and I trust that you will use the appropriate procedures in the future.''

(3) By a letter dated 6 January 2009 (clearly a misprint for 2010) Ms Jessen wrote again to the Claimant about payment and ended her letter by saying this:

``Finally, as agreed earlier, I believe it would be best for us to draw a line under this process and move forward (which I know you have also said you wish to do). I look forward to your return and for your continued successful employment at the College.''

(4) On 11 January 2010, the Claimant returned to work. On 14 January 2010, Ms Jessen sent an email to the Claimant stating that since she had a zero hour contract and had not worked since 30 November 2009, she would not in fact be paid for the period 30 November 2009 to 11 January 2010. By a further email of the same date, Ms Jessen said this:

``We do not have a policy on this as it is a bespoke situation. However, as you resigned without notice then you did not work during the period that you have claimed for.

Although the College did rescind your resignation it remains the case that we cannot pay you (or any individual) for hours that you did not work.''

(5) In response to this the Claimant raised a further grievance on 1 February 2010. This was rejected on 9 February 2010.

(6) By letter dated 12 February 2010, the Claimant resigned. She said this:

``The reason for my resignation is as follows:


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