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Can an employer refuse to accept resignation tendered by an employee?

Updated: Jan 21

Employees have the right to resign from service. An employer cannot refuse to accept the resignation rendered by the employees and force them to continue in employment. However, this right is subject to the stipulations in service rules.

In Sanjay Jain v National Aviation Company of India ( Civil Appeal No. 7822/2011, judgment dated 01 November 2018) the apex court of India held that, "To resign is a right of an employee who cannot be forced to serve in case he is not willing until and unless there is some stipulation in the rules or in the terms of appointment or disciplinary proceedings is pending or contemplated which is sought to be avoided by resigning from the services."

Therefore, when an employee tenders his/her/their resignation in tune with the service rules of the establishment, the employer can not refuse to accept the resignation. The employee cannot simply tender the resignation as an attempt to avoid an ongoing disciplinary proceedings or a contemplated one. In such circumstances the employer can chose not to accept the resignation in tune with the relevant rules of the establishment.

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