Gomes v Advanced Heating Limited (Jersey)

Mr Gomes was a plumbing and heating engineer who started work in June 2019. He brought forward claims for unfair dismissal, notice pay, no payslips, and discrimination.

Over time, it was argued that Mr Gomes had been difficult to work with. As a result, there were a series of minor incidents concerning disagreements and allegations of him being aggressive and confrontational. Because of this, other individuals, including the Contract Manager, stated they weren’t prepared to work with him.

The employer wrote to Mr Gomes and asked for his feedback as to how they should proceed. Unfortunately, Mr Gomes did not respond. It transpired that he was looking for alternative employment and found a new position shortly after that.

At the Tribunal, it was identified that Mr Gomes never resigned from his position with Advanced Heating Limited. There was nothing to suggest that he had been dismissed from his employment.

The Tribunal held that when he started work with his new employer, he had “effectively resigned his employment with Advanced Heating without giving any notice”.

Therefore, the claim for unfair dismissal and notice pay fell away in the absence of a dismissal. The claim for payslips and discrimination also failed due to a lack of evidence.

While it’s beneficial for employers, this appears to be an unusual decision by the Tribunal. This case suggests that an employee who leaves without formalising the end of their contract and then obtains employment elsewhere “effectively resigns”.

The outcome suggests that an employee cannot have two concurrent employment contracts, which, of course, is not true. Employees may have multiple zero-hours contracts, for example.

Either way, this is one to watch and see. As this is only a judgment of the first instance, it will be interesting to see whether the Tribunal follows this judgment in the future or takes an alternative route.

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