What is Constructive Dismissal?
Constructive Dismissal occurs when an employee terminates their employment, as a result of their employer's conduct towards them. Although the employee has resigned the effects are the same as if they were dismissed and they may therefore be able to bring a claim.
There are also certain issues which must be considered before making a claim. For example:
• The employer may be in a position to prove that their action was justified or reasonable. For example, the employee may have breached the terms of their contract of employment.
• The employee may have to indicate why the usual grievance procedures were not followed.
• To pursue a claim for Constructive Dismissal an employee must usually leave their employment within a reasonable time of the actions complained of.
• The employee must also be able to meet the qualifying criteria for unfair dismissal before they can bring a constructive dismissal claim unless a statutory exception applies. The employee should give this some considerable thought before resigning. Advice should be ideally sought.
• The employer’s breach must be of more than a minor nature.
Examples of action which may give rise to a claim for Constructive Dismissal;
• A reduction of pay without the employee’s consent.
• Change to hours of work without authority to do so.
• Demotion for no justifiable reason.
• Other fundamental changes to the nature of the employee’s job.
• Bullying, harassment or violence by the employer or work colleagues.
• Making the employee work in dangerous conditions.
The employer's breach of contract may be one serious incident or the last in a series of less important incidents that are serious when taken together.
The above information is not intended to be a complete or definitive statement of the law. For more information or advice please contact our Employment Law team.
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