London Transport Executive v Clarke: CA 1981

The employee had taken unauthorised leave to go to Jamaica. After sending two letters to his home address asking for an explanation and giving an ultimatum, the employers wrote on 26 March saying that his name had been permanently removed from their books on that day. When he returned they refused to reinstate him.
Held: Where an employer says ‘if you do not do X you will be treated as having resigned’ this is, in effect, a dismissal (Denning MR dissenting). Actions by employers can constitute an unequivocal overt act which is inconsistent with the subsistence of the contract of employment. These actions were sufficient to bring those contracts to an end.
It will be sufficient for activity to occur without it being communicated so as to complete the acceptance of a repudiation. Templeman LJ said: ‘If a worker walks out of his job and does not thereafter claim to be entitled to resume work, then he repudiates his contract and the employer accepts that repudiation by taking no action to affirm the contract. No question of unfair dismissal can arise unless the worker claims that he was constructively dismissed. If a worker walks out of his job or commits any other breach of contract, repudiatory or otherwise, but at any time claims that he is entitled to resume or to continue his work, then his contract of employment is only determined if the employer expressly or impliedly asserts and accepts repudiation on the part of the worker. Acceptance can take the form of formal writing or can take the form of refusing to allow the worker to resume or continue his work. Where the contract of employment is determined by the employer purporting to accept repudiation on the part of the worker, the tribunal must decide whether the worker has been unfairly dismissed.’
Templeman, Dunn, Denning MR LJJ
[1981] ICR 355, [1981] IRLR 166
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedKwik-Fit (GB) Ltd v Lineham EAT 5-Feb-1992
The applicant claimed unfair dismissal. The employer replied that the employee had resigned.
Held: The employer’s appeal was dismissed. The resignation had taken place in a heated moment, and it was not conclusive. An employer may not be able . .
CitedGisda Cyf v Barratt SC 13-Oct-2010
The parties disputed the effective date of termination of the claimant’s employment. Was it the date on which the letter notifying her was sent, or was it on the day she received it. She had been dimissed without notice, and the date was the date on . .
CitedSociete Generale, London Branch v Geys SC 19-Dec-2012
The claimant’s employment by the bank had been terminated. The parties disputed the sums due, and the date of the termination of the contract. The court was asked ‘Does a repudiation of a contract of employment by the employer which takes the form . .
CitedNewcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood SC 25-Apr-2018
Notice of dismissal begins when received by worker
The court was asked: ‘If an employee is dismissed on written notice posted to his home address, when does the notice period begin to run? Is it when the letter would have been delivered in the ordinary course of post? Or when it was in fact . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 July 2021; Ref: scu.251742