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Labour Court Upholds Decision to Reinstate Employee Who Sought to Retract Resignation Tendered in “Special Circumstances”

posted 1 week ago

The Labour Court (the “Court”) has recently issued its decision in Saint John of God Community Services CLG and Ms Olapeju Oyegoke [UDD2415]. This was an appeal by the employer (hereinafter the “Respondent”) of the Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) decision that the Respondent’s refusal to allow Ms Oyegoke (the “Complainant”) to retract her resignation amounted to an unfair dismissal, due to the special circumstances under which it was tendered. In his decision in that case (A Social Care Worker v A Social Services Charity ADJ-00039351), the Adjudicator, Brian Dalton, ordered reinstatement of the Complainant to her role. Our newsletter article on the WRC decision can be found here.

Facts: The Complainant had been a good employee with the Respondent since 24th August 2004 until she handed in her resignation on 27th January 2022. The Complainant had resisted an internal transfer, having suffered the sudden death of her teenage daughter. The Complainant provided a medical certificate in support of her position, and requested a referral to Occupational Health. However, the Respondent did not send her to Occupational Health, and instead sought to rely on a risk assessment carried out by a Social Care Leader, a copy of which was not provided to the Complainant. The Respondent sought to progress the internal move. The Complainant was under the care of medical health professionals and was on certified sick leave at the time of her resignation. Her resignation was accepted by the Respondent on the same day it was tendered. A number of days later, and on receipt of medical advice, she sought to retract her resignation. The Respondent would not allow this. It cited the fact that it was not its policy to allow resignations to be withdrawn. The Complainant made a further request to retract her resignation, setting out her medical issues in detail. This was again refused, but the Complainant was offered a role on the Respondent’s relief panel.

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