Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal is one of the ways that your employment contract can end. This is when the employee decides that they cannot work for their employer due to a breach of contract.

Please call us about your constructive dismissal matter on 01536 276300 or 01536 311690. We offer an initial fixed fee discussion at a cost of £150 + vat or use our online enquiry form.

Sadly we are unable to assist in contested employment disputes at this stage.

Constructive dismissal is when you are forced to leave your employment against your will due to your employer’s conduct. It is regulated under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The reason that you leave your employment must be serious, for example;

1. Your employer does not pay you
2. You are demoted for no reason
3. Your employer forces you to accept unreasonable changes how you work – such as telling you to work night shifts when your contract is only for day work
4. Your employer allows other employees to harass or bully you.
5. Your employer’s breach of contract can be just one serious incident or a series of incidents that are serious when taken as a whole.

Usually, the reason for constructive dismissal is the breach of trust and confidence by the employer, and this is a clause that is implied in any employment contract. Defined it reads ‘an employer must not, without reasonable or proper cause, conduct himself in a manner calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence between the employer and employee’.

Procedure

Initially, you should attempt to sort any issues by speaking to your employer. If you do not resolve the issue, you should speak to the HR department or manager.

If nothing is done after you try the above and you believe you have a case for constructive dismissal, you must leave your employment immediately. If you do not, then the Employment Tribunal can claim that you are deemed to have accepted the new conditions.

Relation To Unfair Dismissal

You should not assume that constructive dismissal is the same as unfair treatment of an employee. The constructive dismissal is when your employer commits serious breach of contract but the fairness of the procedure is looked at separately under a statutory claim for unfair dismissal.

The issue is that with constructive dismissal, by definition, it avoids the correct procedure which means that even if the reason was fair, the decision was probably not, and so an unfair dismissal claim arises.

Risks

Constructive dismissal cases are notoriously hard to prove in the Employment Tribunal. This is because you must prove that it was a fundamental breach of contract by the employer. You must also demonstrate that your decision to terminate the employment was in response to the breach. The Employment Tribunal would expect you to have attempted to resolve the situation via the grievance policy before resigning.

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