The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Gisda Cyf v Barratt provides important guidance about when a dismissal is deemed to take effect. In short the Supreme Court concluded that the date of dismissal was the date on which the employee read the dismissal letter, and not the date on which it was sent or, indeed, delivered to the employee’s house.
This is an important decision in situations where the employer is trying to dismiss before an employee has over one year's service in order to minimise the risk of an unfair dismissal claim. In such situations it would be best practice for the employer to speak to the employee either face to face or on the telephone to tell them that their employment is being terminated with immediate effect, or on a set date, in addition to confirming the position in writing. A file note should be kept as evidence that the conversation took place and ideally there would be a witness to the conversation.