Once an unconditional offer of employment is accepted, the contract of employment is fully formed and enforceable. Both the employer and employee are bound to the contractual terms even before the employee starts work.
cScape Strategic Internet Services ltd v Toon, provides a useful reminder of this principle. Mr Toon's contract entitled him to a week's notice if he was dismissed during the first three months of employment. Otherwise he was entitled to one month's notice. cScape withdrew its offer of employment before Mr Toon started and paid him for one week.
Mr Toon argued that as he was dismissed before rather than during the first three months of employment he was entitled to one month's notice. Bizarrely the tribunal agreed! It took the EAT to restore the well-known contractual principle that the tribunal should assume that the party being sued would have performed the contract in the way most advantageous to it. In this case, the employer could have chosen to give one week's notice on the first day of the contract. So Mr Toon had already received all that he was entitled to - one week's gross pay. But a nice creative try on the part of Mr Toon.