26th March 2015

Why Did Zayn Not Work His Notice? And what is the direction of the latest One Direction revelation?

The world was rocked yesterday at news that Zayn Malik has left One Direction.  His official statement read, “I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”  Rumour has it that he resigned as a result of the stress which has been caused by being a member of the most successful boy band of all time.

Is he lodging a claim of constructive unfair dismissal? 

The circumstances surrounding his resignation are not unlike circumstances which surround claims of constructive unfair dismissal, where employees tender their resignation as a result of a breach of contract.  In order for a claim of constructive unfair dismissal to succeed, it must be established that:

  • There was a fundamental breach of contract on the part of the employer
  • The employer’s breach caused the employee to resign
  • The employee did not delay too long before resigning

It seems entirely plausible that Zayn could rely on the stress which was caused by his job, the circumstances surrounding his resignation and the content of his official statement to support a claim of constructive unfair dismissal in the future.

Why would Zayn not work his notice? 

In claims for constructive dismissal, a tribunal can criticise an employee who offers to work longer than their contractual minimum notice period. In such cases, a tribunal can make a finding that the employee has affirmed the contract, resulting in an unsuccessful claim of constructive dismissal.  For this reason, an employee would not normally offer to work their notice period when resigning in pursuit of a claim.  Having said that, the EAT has made it clear in recent cases that each case is fact sensitive and the matter of time is not to be taken in isolation.  Generally employees should take advice about the issue of notice before electing to resign.  However if Zayn is intent on pursuing such a claim, he was wise not to have offered to work his contractual notice period.

How long does Zayn have to lodge a claim? 

Any claim for constructive unfair dismissal requires to be lodged within three months of the effective date of termination of employment.  The only exception to this rule is where it was not reasonably practicable to have lodged the claim within this time limit.  Tribunals however are generally reluctant to use this exception.  For this reason, Zayn will require to act quickly if he wants to identify the correct employment lawyer, pay his employment tribunal issue fee and get his funding in place for a claim.

One Way Or Another, I am sure that we will eventually hear The Story Of His Life.
In the meantime, we can only speculate as to the reasons for Zayn’s resignation.
Maybe he will lodge a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.
Maybe he just wants to Live While He’s Young.
Or maybe he just didn’t like their music ….

Simon Allison
Partner – Employment Law

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