“Here you can have my badge” – Handling a Heat of Moment Resignation

“Here you can have my badge” – Handling a Heat of Moment Resignation

April 20, 2024

From time to time we get asked what to do when someone leaves with immediate effect. These might be described as a the “here, you can have my badge” moments.

Sometimes accompanied by a lot of ‘huffing’ and “I’m not putting up with s*** this! ” comments.

These circumstances are never pleasant for any of the parties involved. Whether it’s the impact on the employee themselves, their colleagues who witness this, or the manager who this is directed at.

However it’s worth noting that where an employee resigns, in the heat of the moment, using unambiguous words or actions, there is no duty on the employer to seek to recover the situation and investigate the employee’s true intention.


The issue is what constitutes ‘unambiguous words’. In a case in the tribunal where the employee told their employer “this is fucking bullshit, this is my month’s notice” it was felt that those words were unambiguous.

To be clear, unambiguous is where what someone says is unequivocal and where there can be no doubt or misunderstanding.

Legal Duties

Where words or actions of resignation are unambiguous, an employer is entitled to treat them as such and accept the employee’s resignation on face value at once, unless there are special circumstances arising due to personality conflicts or individual characteristics that would call into question whether or not this was the genuine intention. Special circumstances which would probably only be established in a tribunal. Words spoken or actions expressed in temper, in the heat of the moment, under extreme pressure, where the employee is under significant emotional distress or has insufficient mental capacity at that time to form that clear intention may be viewed as special circumstances in some situations.

Special Circumstances

We recommend that employers wait a brief period before accepting a resignation to ensure it was genuinely intended, as immediately accepting it risks being deemed an unfair dismissal if later evidence suggests otherwise.

However, this waiting period should be short, typically a day or two, not extending to weeks after an employee realises they cannot find another job or claim benefits.

If you need any assistance with a resignation, give us a call.

Sign up and receive news from the nest

We’ll send you regular advice and relevant and valuable materials for your Day Nursery, Pre-school and Out of School Club.
We won’t be intrusive – just helpful! Don’t Miss Out! Fill in your details below, and we’ll be in touch very soon.