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  • Constructive Dismissal

    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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