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Case law: Employers sending time-critical notices to employees must check when they are deemed to arrive

Employers sending time-critical notices to employees should ensure they know when the notice will be deemed to have arrived, taking into account any express provisions in the employee's employment terms or relevant rules and laws, following a recent ruling.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert - May 2017

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Please note: A newer article on this case was published in the June 2018 edition of Legal Alert following subsequent developments in the legal process.

An employee was told she was at risk of redundancy. If she was made redundant on or after her 50th birthday (on 20 July 2011), her pension entitlement would be significantly higher than if she was made redundant before then.

She was entitled to 12 weeks' notice, but her terms of employment did not expressly set out when any notices served on her were deemed to have been given.

The employee went on holiday from 19 April to 27 April, telling her employer she would be away. On 20 April, her employer sent notice of termination of her employment to her home address by ordinary post and by recorded delivery post (which was accepted by her neighbour in her absence), and by email to her husband's personal email address.

She did not see any of these until she returned from holiday on 27 April.

The High Court ruled that in the absence of any express provision in her terms of employment, she was deemed to have received it when she actually did receive it, on 27 April 2011. That meant the notice period for termination of her employment did not expire until after her 50th birthday and she was therefore entitled to a higher pension than if the court had deemed her to have received it on 20 April.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers sending time-critical notices to employees should ensure they know when the notice will be deemed to have arrived, taking into account any express provisions in the employee's terms of employment or any other applicable rules and laws

Case ref: Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood [2017] EWCA Civ 153

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.