When is Notice Deemed to have been Received

Until recently it was accepted that a letter containing notice of dismissal, or other employment matter, was deemed to have been received when that letter arrived at its destination.

However, the recent Court of Appeal decision between Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust and Sandi Haywood has suggested that here could be circumstances when that is not necessarily the case.

The full decision is detailed in the above link but essentially the finding was as follows:

“Where a decision to dismiss is communicated by a letter sent to the employee at home, and the employee has neither gone away deliberately to avoid receiving the letter nor avoided opening and reading it, the effective date of termination is when the letter is read by the employee, not when it arrives in the post.”

Therefore, if you do need to send an employee a notice of dismissal, or any other important document, then you should ensure they will be available to read it. If they have gone on holiday then it may be some weeks before the contents of the letter are read and any dates contained within take effect.


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