In a recent British Columbia decision, the question before the
court was whether an employee who stormed out of a meeting saying
"I'm out of here!" was expressing an intention to
quit, or an intention to go on vacation.
What was at stake for the employee in Balogun v.
Deloitte & Touche, LLP, 2011 BCSC 1314 was his
entitlement to reasonable notice. If it was determined that he
quit, he would not be entitled to any notice, but if he was
dismissed, either constructively or formally, then he would be
entitled to notice.
The trial judge considered the conversation that transpired
prior to Mr. Balogun stating, "I'm out of here!"
There was a meeting between Mr. Balogun and his supervisors wherein
concerns were expressed about Mr. Balogun's work performance
and attitude. According to the employer witnesses, Mr. Balogun
stated that no one in the office was sufficiently qualified to
review his work. When he was asked what that meant for the future,
he responded with his "I'm out of here!" comment. The
Plaintiff testified that he did not remember saying "I'm
out of here!" but that if he said anything to that effect, it
was in reference to his two-week vacation which had been previously
Before he left, the Plaintiff was asked to turn over his keys
and computer. The employer's witnesses testified that this was
because he had quit and the employer wanted to secure these items
from the Plaintiff before he left the workplace permanently. The
employee testified that he thought the employer simply needed his
keys and computer while he was on vacation.
Justice N. Smith found that the Plaintiff likely did say
something to the effect of "I'm out of here" but that
it was ambiguous in the circumstances and could not be taken as
clear evidence of an intention to resign. Justice Smith also
considered whether the Plaintiff's departure could be seen as
confirmation of an intention to resign, however, given that it was
the end of the work day and the Plaintiff was scheduled to take a
vacation, his departure from the workplace did not lead to any
The case law reviewed by Justice Smith confirmed that a
resignation must be clear to be effective. A person can resign
either through words or conduct, but in either circumstance, there
must not be any ambiguity about the employee's intention. On
balance, it was found that the Plaintiff did not express a clear
intention to resign, and was therefore entitled to reasonable
notice on the basis that the employer had constructively terminated
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