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Hi everyone

I would be really grateful if someone could give me some advice in order to help my niece whom I will call Susan for the purpose of this plea of help.


Susan started work at a children's day nursery and completed her 3 month probation 1 month ago. The nursery works by ages in the rooms, Susan is with age group 3-4.


Things were great when she first started, but her team leader moved back into her 'director' role into the office and was replaced by someone else, it quickly became apparent to everyone that the new lady was not up to the job (even being sent home when OFSTED inspected) and therefore immense pressure was put on Susan to act as team leader, over the weeks she became more and more stressed about how things were going, particularly as the current team leader handed her 2 weeks notice in and it didn't look as if she was going to be replaced.



Susan has realised since being there that too much emphasis is put on finances and not enough about the children, there is a lot of health and safety issues understandable where children are concerned and I feel Susan was beginning to loose her confidence in her ability to care for the children following the rules and regulations to the letter.


Edited by citizenB
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Over the past couple of weeks Susan has become increasingly upset, and on the verge of tears most of the time,


her boss did call her in the office and said she's been told Susan seemed different, and suggested she had problems at home (which she doesn't)


feeling there is a no support for her Susan felt she should probably hand her notice in and move into some other less stressful kind of work.


Here lies the problem! Upon checking her contract of employment which is signed, it seems she was to give 6 weeks notice not the two she thought.


Unfortunately knowing she would not be able to complete the 6 weeks, at the end of her working day on Friday, she left her notice of resignation on the desk in the office, stating with immediate effect.


Within 8 minutes of Susan leaving work, her boss had left a voicemail stating she was going to take legal action if Susan didn't complete her 6 weeks notice.

Edited by honeybee13
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I think that since she is in breach of contract by not working her notice then her employer would be able to take action against her but I believe they would only be able to claim any actual losses, e.g. having to pay supply staff until they employ someone else. They cannot however claim for things like the cost of advertising since they would still have had to do that if she had worked her notice.


I'm sure everyone could give some advice which would start 'with hindsight', but what's done is done so I won't go down that road.


"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Several of the other staff have contacted Susan saying *** said she is taking you to court, which further upset Susan knowing she was the topic of conversation. The next day Susan received a letter from her boss stating she was happy for Susan to work her 6 weeks notice, and if she doesn't, she will take her to court.



On Monday Susan went to her Dr and she was signed off for 4 weeks, given anti depressants and has been referred for counselling. I dropped the medical certificate into my nieces work on Monday afternoon. Today Susan's boss has returned the medical certificate saying she doesn't need it as Susan's letter stated her resignation was with immediate effect and that she (her boss) had accepted it. She again goes on to say she will sue for the 6 weeks she will need to get agency staff in at a cost of £13 per hour etc.


I know this whole thing hasn't been conducted in the best way as far as Susan goes but at 19 she is still a bit hot headed, and didn't think of the consequence's. On the other hand her employer has not shown the slightest bit of care for her employee before Friday nor since! It seems that this lady wants to buy another nursery and is cutting back on everything in order to do so.



Susan is beside herself with fear, I 'am very cross with her employer for continually threatening Susan when she is already depressed! Could someone advise me of how to word a letter to Susan's employers to try and get her off Susan's back

Thank you, any help is really appreciated


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Thanks reallymadwoman, I agree it wasn't the best plan of action, and had I known she was so unhappy, I would have marched her to the Dr's before she resigned, a week or so off may have given her time to re-charge and think more clearly.

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Hi SweetLorraine,

I'm not entirely sure to be honest, Ideally I would like Susan's employers to leave her alone at least until her medication has taken effect and she's a bit stronger.

6 weeks seems an awfully long notice period, seems a bit strange given the team leader was only required to do 2 weeks. I wondered if an employer has any obligations towards the wellbeing of an employee, had the situation been dealt with rather than blaming 'problems at home' this may never have happened.

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Um, 6 weeks notice does sound like a long time - given that Susan had only been there a couple of months would she still be working in a probationary period?


Perhaps Susan could agree to work the 6 weeks notice, re-submit the 4 week sick note and see how she feels about going in for the last fortnight?

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Susan seems to have been asked to perform a number of roles - some of which may be asking too much of her given her lack of experience and her pay grade. If she does return to see out her notice it might be worth sticking to the duties described in her contract of employment.


It could be argued that her sudden resignation is a manifestation of the stress she was under.


If Susan is signed off sick her employer cannot ride roughshod over her rights. If Susan accepts that she would have to work the last six weeks the employer can hardly accept that 'climbdown' and then ignore the sick note. Accepting to abide by the 6 week rule may not only negate any civil action but may also mean that Susan could still get a better job reference from the nursery.


It looks as though Susan has found a bit of a 'mare for a starting point in her career. Perhaps she shouldn't think about giving up working with kids just yet - just see this as a learning experience which will help her suss things/employers out quicker in the future.

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Thanks guys

It is a real shame this has got her down so much, she was very happy there and obviously they were happy with her, having only recently successfully passing the probation period.

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What notice period was the employer obliged to give? may well find, if notice period is shorter then contract will be considered unduly restrictive and thus unenforceable.

Was Susan's acting as team leader specifically within her job description? A change in the contract by one side allows the other party to repudiate it if it is a big enough change.

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There was no discussion regarding her acting as team leader, and no it isn't in her job description. I feel the boss/owner felt Susan was the best she had in that particular room and used her to her advantage, which is perfectly acceptable, but once she was aware it was becoming too much, I think she should have supported her rather than try and blame problems at home! The boss/owner would come into the room and direct questions, ask for information, give orders, make requests etc (not in a nasty way, I just couldn't think how else to put it) at Susan, completely ignoring the real 'team leader'.

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Contract says the same for both parties. Up to one month = Nil One month to probationary = 2 weeks After probation up to 7 years = 6 weeks. I'm guessing real team leader (who worked only 2 weeks notice) either didn't pass probationary or made the decision pretty quickly she didn't want to stay.

Would there be any loopholes we could use given the fact that, until the employer received the medical certificate stating 'stress at work' she was happy for Susan to return, and work out her notice period.

I am so grateful for the help you are giving

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Hi maddiemay,


just to be clear where we are


  • Susan has resigned.
  • Her employer has asked her to work her six weeks notice. Her employer is threatening to sue her for the cost of any agency replacement for the 6 week period if she does not work her notice. (I imagine her employer could only claim the difference between what she would have had to have paid Susan and the agency worker costs [if it is a higher hourly rate])
  • Susan is signed off sick for the next four weeks.

Is Susan willing to work the 6 weeks notice?

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Absolutely correct sweetlorraine,

Susan left a letter of resignation on Friday 8th at the end of her shift at 1pm. Resignation says, she feels it best for her to go with immediate effect, no reasons given. 1.08 pm, boss left voicemail threatening legal action if she doesn't work the 6 weeks notice.

Sat 9th, Susan receives a letter saying, boss/owner is happy for her to work her notice, but will sue if she doesn't.

Monday 11th, Susan is signed off for 4 weeks, med certificate delivered on the same day

Thurs 13th Susan receives a letter saying she is going to sue if Susan doesn't make an agreement to pay, and also enclosed the medical certificate, saying, why have you sent me this, you resigned with immediate effect.

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I'm away this weekend so have told Susan not to open any more letters, I will do it on Monday when I get back. I just wanted you to know as I wouldn't want you to think I'm not replying, when I so desperately need your help. I intend to gather as much information from you all, and on Monday re-send the medical certificate and a letter to Susan's employers, including, Susan was in a highly emotional state when she left the letter of resignation, cannot make any offer until the 6 weeks are up and she knows the exact losses incurred (and of course we will need a complete breakdown) and anything else anyone can come up with.

Thanks everyone


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Erm, the employer seems to be sending out conflicting signals.



  • The employer has accepted Susan's resignation but wants her to work out her 6 weeks notice.


  • Once the employer has seen the sick note however, the employer seems to then accept that Susan's resignation can be effective immediately and is now demanding financial recompense.... or is the employer still willing to let Susan work her notice?

If the employer can now see that if Susan comes back she will cover most of the period with sick leave the employer may now be taking a harder line.


Can an employer accept an immediate resignation then demand financial compensation for a cost the employer has yet to incur? (One for the professionally qualified contributors).

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Legally, she can only resign with immediate notice if the employer agrees.


Simply put the employer cannot have it both ways. If the employer accepts an immediate resignation the employment contract comes to an end and there is no possible claim. If the employer does not accept this she is still employed until the end of the notice period. Stating she feels it best to resign with immediate effect is not the same thing as refusing to come into work.




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Thank you everyone for your input. From the first letter Susan received it seemed that she/the boss (and stated) was happy for the notice to be worked, but then changed her mind once she'd seem the medical certificate.

Regarding both parties having to agree to an immediate finish, from what I can gather, Susan did think that the boss would be in agreement, given their conversation on the Tuesday prior to the day of resignation.

The other thing that worries me is that the employer can drag her heels if she wants for 6 weeks, safe in the knowledge that the £13 an hour (this figure was quoted in the letters) agency cover will have to be covered by Susan.

Susan will obviously need to reply to the letters, she cant just ignore them, but what to write is beyond me!

Thanks again, I'm so grateful for any advice

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