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Question: "An employee had a blazing row with his manager in the middle of the afternoon, told him he had had enough of his job, stormed out of the office and went home. Next morning he turned up for work as though nothing had happened. On reflection should we not have treated the man as having resigned?"
HR Tip: If you dismiss an employee in temper, the employee can insist that the dismissal stands and take action against you for, perhaps, unfair dismissal, even though you may apologise soon afterwards. However an employee who resigns in temper is allowed to retract his resignation provided that he does so promptly, which probably means early the following day.
It appears therefore that your employee has not resigned. You could ask for an apology and take disciplinary action against the employee for leaving work early if you feel that to be appropriate. My concern however is that he may have been provoked. I therefore suggest that you have a quiet word with the man, tell him that his reaction was inappropriate, sort out any dispute or friction between him and his manager – then put the whole matter behind you.
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