Where a letter is sent to an employee at home informing them of the employer’s decision to dismiss, the effective date of termination is when the letter is read by the employee not when it arrives in the post.

The facts of the case were that Ms Barratt (B) was sent her termination letter by recorded delivery. It was signed for by her son as she was away visiting her sister who was giving birth. The following Monday B enquired as to whether she had received her recorded letter and was given a further copy at that point. The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) held that Monday was the effective date of termination.

The EAT went on to suggest that if employers want to achieve a measure of certainty, they would be wise to include a provision in the employment contract that a letter sent by the employer would be deemed to arrive the next working day.

Gisda CYF v Barratt, EAT