The law describes employees who hand in their resignation (notice) without properly thinking through the consequences as having resigned in the ‘heat of the moment’. Like managers who fire employees on the spot, the law does allow a cooling off period to a degree.
Advice for Withdrawing a Resignation
If you have walked out of the office after a heated exchange with your boss and are now regretting it then the chances of keeping your job will depend on which of the following categories you fall into.
1. If you left saying nothing then you may face a disciplinary sanction for leaving during working hours but you employer is not entitled to consider you as having resigned.
2. If you said something as you left then what you said will have a bearing…
(a) If you said something ambiguous or unclear as you flounced out of the office such as, ” That’s it, I am off”. Then your words may not constitute a resignation at all.
(b) If, however, your words were unambiguous then your employer may be entitled to take them at face value. For example, if you leave saying, “That’s it, I quit!” An employer may be entitled consider that you have resigned. You may still have a chance to withdraw your resignation.
If you fall into category (b) above then your employer should still allow you a cooling off period. In the case of Kwik-Fit (GB) v Lineham  ICR 183 it was held that an employee would be allowed to retract the resignation if the words spoken were in anger or if the intellectual capability of the employee is in question. An employer who refuses to allow a reasonable retraction would have effectively dismissed you. In such circumstances you could bring a case for unfair dismissal.
If you have resigned in the heat of the moment and your employer is refusing to allow you to withdraw your resignation we may be able to help you. Call our legal helpline for free, no obligation advice on [phonenumber].