Workers are generally reluctant to terminate the contract of employment whether wrongfully or lawfully even in the midst of gross misconduct orchestrated by the employer. This explains why cases of wrongful resignation are relatively few.
The labour code has not made any distinction as to who may be guilty of wrongful termination of the contract of employment. It is superfluous to add that the worker is just as liable to pay damages for wrongful resignation as the employer for wrongful dismissal and this is whether the resignation stems from his own violation or is the result of a third party action.
WRONGFUL RESIGNATION BY ACT OF WORKER
The worker is as free to terminate his contract of employment as the employer is unilaterally. But he is subject to same legal obligations to exercise this right judiciously. Hence where the resignation act of the worker precedes a bad conduct of the worker which has a negative impact on the employer, such resignation will amount to wrongful resignation. The take here is resignation after a wrongful act of the worker.
WRONGFUL RESIGNATION BY ACT OF THIRD PARTY
Resignation by a worker orchestrated by the act of a third party especially where the third party is another employer amounts to wrongful resignation and the courts frown at such conduct. In these cases, the third party will be a joinder in the suit of wrongful resignation. The labour code of Cameroon has provided for three instances under which the new employer shall be jointly liable to the workers former employer for any prejudice suffered by the latter. They are as follows;
- Where the new employer enticed the worker to resign,
- Where the new employer had already engaged the services of the worker knowing that the worker was still under a subsisting contract of employment, and
- Where the new employer confirmed the employment of the worker knowing the worker was still bound to another employer by a contract of employment.
There shall be no liability in the last case if, when the new employer learns that the worker wrongfully terminated his former contract of employment either the said contract had already expired by effluxion of time in the case of a contract of specified duration or by the expiry of the period of notice in the case of a contract of unspecified duration or 15 days have elapsed since the termination of the contract whichever is the lesser.