The Supreme Court confirm the timing of the effective date of
termination (“EDT”) of employment on summary dismissal – a key date for
vesting of rights under incentive plans.
The Supreme Court held that when employment is summarily terminated
by letter the effective date of termination is the date on which the
employee read the letter or had a reasonable opportunity to discover its
In this case the employee was visiting a relative when the letter
was received at her own home address. Although she telephoned home she
did not ask about her mail. It was held that her EDT was when she
returned home and actually read the letter.
The effect of the case is that an employer cannot be sure of the EDT
when he summarily dismisses an employee by letter. Many incentive and
benefit plans provide that rights under them cease to accrue or are
forfeited on termination of employment. It is therefore, key to know
when that date arises.
Employers should consider arranging for summary dismissals to be
communicated in person to employees in order to achieve certainty as to
the date of dismissal and corresponding entitlement under any incentive
and benefit plans.
Gisda Cyf v Barratt  UKSC 41
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