My wife started a new job in the UK in the beginning of September. Before starting the job, she had notified them that she will need to take all of October off for our wedding and honeymoon. The contract she signed was pretty generic, making no mention of the unpaid leave, and it stated that the probation period will last three months from when she started work, and that the termination notice period for either parties will be a week during probation and three months after.
In the beginning of December, she decided she did not want to continue working at the company, so wanted to find a new job before her probation period ended. She assumed she would still have nearly a month, as, discounting the long unpaid leave, she had only actually worked there for two months. She found a job soon after, and initially verbally notified her manager just a few days beyond the three calendar months from her start date. Initially, her manager was okay with her leaving, and they verbally agreed on an end date in the beginning of January, which was nearly a month away. My wife then went and agreed an early start date in January with her new company based on her verbal agreement with the manager.
However, a few days later, her manager came back and said that, having talked to HR, he has been informed that she has already passed her probation period, so the notification period needs to be at least three months. He claims that he had not realised that she had passed her probation when making the original agreement, despite being her manager.
There's also the HR welcome pack my wife received upon joining the company, which she and HR personnel both signed, which stated that, regarding the probation, there will be "a review meeting with your line manager will be arranged". Since joining the company, she has had no notification at all regarding probation, not even a letter telling her she had passed (HR claims they haven't got around to it yet). This is part of the reason why she assumed she was still in her probation period.
At this point, due to the way the company is handling this matter, she really doesn't want to work for them any more, so she wants to know: if she insists on finish according to the initial verbal agreement, what can be the consequences? Would a company likely to pursue legal action?