Ms Kristina Woodiwiss v Alanvale Apartments & Motor Inn. (U2014/16717) [2015] FWC 1822. DEPUTY PRESIDENT ABEY

In considering this matter the DP must be satisfied that Ms Woodiwiss was dismissed at the initiative of the employer, or whether she resigned, and examined the following overriding principles:

  • “To be effective, a resignation must be clear and unambiguous. Account needs to be taken of the context in which statements are made and the ensuing circumstances.
  • If words of resignation are unambiguous then prima facie an employer is entitled to treat them as such. However when words are spoken or actions expressed in temper or in the heat of the moment or under extreme pressure, a reasonable period of time should be allowed to elapse, and if circumstances arise during that period which gives rise to a question as to whether the resignation was really intended and that further inquiry is warranted, then such inquiry is ignored at the employer’s risk.
  • If the employee’s words are not ambiguous, or have a clear meaning, he or she will be treated as having resigned, irrespective of whether they were intended to bear that meaning, unless the words of resignation were uttered in the heat of the moment or as a result of pressure exerted by the employer.
  • There is no general duty on an employer to ensure that an employee, using apparently unambiguous words of resignation, intended to resign. “

In all the circumstances I conclude that that Ms Woodiwiss resigned her employment with the respondent. Accordingly the application for an unfair dismissal remedy is dismissed.

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