Apparently, Love Island is a ‘big thing’ on ITV2. You may have noticed. We haven’t paid it too much attention to be honest…until employment law came up. Now we are big fans.
What would you do if you got a call to be on a TV ‘big thing’ but you already had a job? A Love Island contestant has soured relations with her previous employer after it was revealed she gave just one day’s notice before quitting her job.
22-year-old Samira Mighty worked as part of the Dreamgirls cast at London’s Savoy Theatre, but quit her job unexpectedly, leaving her employer with just one day to find a replacement before she jetted off to Majorca to star on the reality series.
Her employers are less than impressed and are purportedly seeking £3,000 in compensation from the actress.
Whilst it’s not clear what type of contract Ms Mighty was on, there would generally be a clause in it requiring her to give notice that she wishes to terminate the contract. If there isn’t, then statutory notice will apply – which for an employee is no notice at all in the first month of their employment and just a week after this period.
It does create problems for employers when an employee doesn’t give the correct notice. But what can they do?
- If the employee has an express garden leave clause, the employer may try to enforce this by seeking an injunction preventing the employee working elsewhere for the period provided by the clause. Whether the court will enforce the clause will depend on the circumstances of the case.
- Bringing a claim for breach of contract against the employee. However, this is rare in practice since it will often be difficult for the employer to prove that it has suffered loss as a result of the early departure. A scenario where this may succeed would be where the employee is critical to the delivery of a project and, as a result, a temporary person has to be hired in their place to complete the project (such as an IT contractor). In such a case, the measure of damages would be the extra cost of hiring the contractor.
Either of the above options could be potentially expensive and time consuming for the employer.
In the first instance employers should have properly drafted contracts of employment which include appropriate notice clauses to properly protect the employer.
There will always be situations where an employee can legitimately resign with immediate effect – no notice where the employer is in repudiatory breach of contract.