I had an argument with my Manager Friday afternoon.  In a rage, I send my Manager a sms to inform him that I am resigning with immediate effect. A week later, I calmed down and send my Manager another sms informing him that I did not intend to resign, but that I was very angry and due to the argument, forwarded my resignation.  My Manager refused to accept the withdrawal of my resignation.  Is this fair?

Yes, resignation is a unilateral termination of a contract of employment by the Employee.  The Employer cannot refuse an Employee to terminate his/her contract.

Dismissal is a unilateral act from the Employer’s side to terminate an Employee’s employment contract and for that reason allows the Employee the recourse of declaring a dispute.

In the matter, Mafika v SA Broadcasting Corporation Ltd (2010) 19 LC 7.1.1 and [2010] 5 BLLR 542 (LC) the court looked at various authorities on the subject and confirmed that:

  1. Resignation is a unilateral termination of a contract of employment by the Employee;
  2. The Employee must show a clear and unambiguous intention not to go on with the contract of Employment, by words or conduct that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the Employee harboured such an intention;
  3. Notice of termination of Employment given by an Employee is a final unilateral act which once given cannot be withdrawn without the Employer’s consent;
  4. In other words, it is not necessary for the Employer to accept any resignation that is tendered by an employee or to concur with it;
  5. The Employer party is not entitled to refuse to accept a resignation; (own emphasis)

In a nutshell, it is clear that your resignation can not be withdrawn without the Employer’s consent.  Think your resignation through and do not act immediately, but rather calm down and think about your actions rationally.  Consider options such as following the Companies grievance procedure.

Remember MISA is just a phone call away.

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