HR tip: Resignation in face of discipline

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Question: Our managing director is more than happy if people who are summoned to a formal disciplinary meeting choose instead to resign. He does not want to jeopardise their chances of getting another job. Is this safe?

HR Tip:
No, it is not. The employee may subsequently claim unfair dismissal. If the Employment Tribunal then suspects that the employee was faced with a jump-or-be-pushed choice, they are most likely to judge that he resigned under pressure and therefore was unfairly dismissed.

If an employee is called to a disciplinary interview but chooses to resign, ask that he or she sign a letter saying that he wishes to resign wholly voluntarily though recognises that he is perfectly free to remain in employment.

You should not mention the planned disciplinary hearing in any reference you supply on the man, though should either not give a reference or, if you choose to give one, comment honestly on all aspect of the man's work.

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