In this recent case, the employer (CF Capital plc) had discussed with Miss Willoughby (their employee) the possibility of changing her employment to a self-employed role, to avoid redundancy.
Miss Willoughby requested more information, but CF Capital thought she had agreed and mistakenly wrote to her to confirm that her employment would be terminated, and replaced with a self-employed contract.
Ms Willoughby bought an unfair dismissal claim, which was upheld.
A termination of employment can only be taken back in special circumstances, usually where an employee resigns in the heat of the moment. CF Capital tried to take back its dismissal on the basis that it had made a mistake. The Court would not allow this, as a mistake could not amount to a special circumstance.
Employers therefore need to be aware that they will only very rarely be able to take back a mistaken dismissal, even if they find out quickly that they got it wrong.