Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Appellant) v Haywood (Respondent)
Case ID: UKSC 2017/0074
When does notice of termination of a contract of employment become effective?
The respondent was employed by the appellant. Her contract of employment provided for termination by either party on 12 weeks’ notice. If the respondent’s employment terminated by reason of redundancy on or after 20 July 2011 (her 50th birthday), she would be entitled to claim a non-actuarially reduced early retirement pension (at a cost of approximately £250,000).
The respondent was on annual leave from Monday 18 April to Thursday 28 April (inclusive). On 20 April the appellant issued written notice of termination on grounds of redundancy. Notice was given in three ways:
- letter sent by first-class post;
- letter sent by recorded delivery; and
- email sent to the appellant’s husband’s email address. The recorded delivery slip was left by Royal Mail at the respondent’s house on 21 April. On 26 April, her father-in-law attended the house and, on finding the slip, collected the letter and left it at the house that day. The respondent returned home on 27 April, when she opened and read the recorded delivery letter.
The respondent brought proceedings in which she claimed entitlement to the early retirement pension on the basis that her 12 weeks’ notice period had not commenced until 27 April when she had read the letter, and so it had not expired until 20 July 2011 – her 50th birthday. HHJ Raeside QC found in favour of the respondent, on the grounds that notice had only been given once she had actually read a letter of dismissal on 27 April 2011, so that the contents were communicated to her. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s appeal.
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Mrs Sandi Haywood
Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs
Hearing start date
20 Nov 2017
Hearing finish date
20 Nov 2017