Friday, 06 December 2019 09:18

Employees Storming Out

We’ve seen a significant rise in calls to the to the helpline recently from employers who have had an employee storm out the businesses, declaring that they quit. Understandably, employers are left confused about their position and what they should do.

In this circumstance, don’t ignore it. Follow up with some positive action. Recruitment and induction is an expensive business so you should make some effort to salvage the situation if the employee is worth retaining in the business.

If an employee storming out comes as a surprise, you might want to first take some time to consider why it’s a surprise. It’s probable that there has been a series of issues or incidents and the employee has reached a tipping point.

Ask yourself if there a channel of communication that is available to members of staff where they can speak openly and confidentially about problems and issues at work. This might be unfair or unreasonable treatment, workload or the style and behaviour of their manager. There might just be a personality clash. If you know about it, you’ll have the opportunity at least to take action and avoid a situation reaching the stage where employees feel that quitting is their only option.

Transferring someone from one department or team to another for example might be all that is required to relieve tension and solve the issue; meaning you get to retain a good worker and maintain morale.
If you’re beyond that point however and your member of staff has slammed the door on their way out, then you need to manage the situation rationally. Remain pragmatic and don’t react to the behaviour in a way that could worsen the situation for either party.

Give the employee a period of time to cool off. Wait to see if he or she returns to work for their next shift. If they do then their return to work interview is an opportunity to hold a conversation with them to determine if there are any underlying problems or mitigating circumstances. If these do exist, then offer support and sign post them to the appropriate procedure to raise complaints.

If the employee cannot justify their behaviour then you may have no choice but to take some form of disciplinary action to protect yourself from further incidents.

If an employee fails to show up for work without any form of contact, then it is a case of unauthorised absence and should be managed as such until they return to work (or not). Until you have a written resignation, you still have a duty of care and some responsibilities, not least those that come under HMRC and taxation rules.

Your first action maybe to call or write to them and check their wellbeing. Check to see if they live alone, who are their next of kin? There is a fine line between respecting someone’s human right to privacy verses a duty of care to check they are safe and well.

If you receive no response from the wellbeing contact, you’ll need to write to the employee and ask them to attend a meeting. We recommend delivering a letter by hand on the same day or by recorded delivery to arrive the next day. Or both. The initial meeting will be an investigation and an opportunity for your employee to present their side of the story and/or reasons for not showing into work.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, including whether or not they attend, you’ll either agree a return to work and/or continue through a disciplinary process. The employee may still decide to tender their resignation of course but at least now it will be officially done and not in the heat of the moment.

You’re not obliged to pay an employee for the time that they do not work and if they storm out never to return then you won’t have to pay any notice either. Remember however that you’ll need to pay them for the time they have worked and there might be some holiday pay to calculate.

For help and support with any HR and Employment Law matters, especially the prickly ones, call us on 01452 331331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 4603 times Last modified on Friday, 06 December 2019 10:20


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