Resignation & retirement

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Generally, when an employee resigns, the process is relatively straightforward because the decision is made voluntarily and for uncontroversial reasons.

However, there may be occasions where an employee resigns ‘in protest’ or anger, and these are the resignations that you most want to take care with. If the employee has actually resigned because he/she feels they have no choice in the matter, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a constructive dismissal claim; facing allegations that something unfair or unlawful, experienced by your employee, essentially forced that employee’s departure decision. 

You can’t refuse to accept a resignation. However, sometimes an employee resigns ‘in the heat of the moment’ following an argument. The validity of this type of resignation can be questioned. Given that they may lead to constructive dismissal claims, it is often advisable to probe the reasons for the dismissal and to give the employee time to cool down and reconsider.

Whatever an employee’s immediately stated reason for their resignation, we recommend that the reasons you’re given are carefully and reasonably explored, ahead of you taking any steps to action it. Our guidance below will help you to manage employee resignations safely and efficiently.

Most of the time, when an employee retires voluntarily, this is a straightforward process. However, since 6 April 2011 there has been no ‘default retirement age’. Forced retirement is dismissal on the grounds of age, therefore if risks rapidly spiralling into an unlawful discrimination claim. There are, however, circumstances where a decision taking into account age, including retirement, can be justified.

For either of these common employment scenarios, we recommend using our guides as your starting point and to set helpful context for the way in which the templates and other documents can be used. If you’re ever unsure about how to use any of our materials, just get in touch on the contact details below.


The content on elXtr has been prepared by LHS Solicitors. It’s intended as guidance only and not to be regarded as a substitute for consultation with one of our solicitors, since every case will ultimately turn on its own particular facts and circumstances. We recommend that you use our materials as your starting point and be aware that you sometimes have to follow a set procedure before taking any action, especially in an employment context. If you are in any doubt, we’d suggest that you get in touch with us and we’ll talk you through your options on how to get the right legal advice.