Constructive Dismissal

What is constructive dismissal?

If an employer commits a serious breach of contract, this may entitle an employee to resign in response, claiming they have been “constructively dismissed”. Such a claim should relate to a fundamental breach of an express contractual term or the implied term of trust and confidence in an employment relationship. Constructive dismissal can relate to one serious incident to a series of incidents. In general, the following conditions must be met for such a claim to be made:

●    the employer must have committed a serious breach (or series of breaches) of the employment contract
●    the employee must have resigned in response to the breach (or series of breaches) and not for another reason
●    the employee should have resigned shortly after the most recent alleged breach

A constructive dismissal claim will normally go hand in hand with wrongful dismissal or unfair dismissal – but this depends on the circumstances in each case.

What could lead to a constructive dismissal claim?

The following actions can result in an employee claiming constructive dismissal:

●    reduction in pay without prior agreement
●    a demotion without being given a reason
●    harassment or bullying of an employee
●    change in the nature of a job, unfair increase in workload or change of location of the workplace at short notice
●    allowing employees to work in dangerous conditions
●    applying an unreasonable disciplinary process
●    alleging poor performance without sufficient grounds

Avoiding constructive dismissal claims

There are various measures which can be put into place to avoid facing constructive dismissal action:

●    make sure you have a properly drafted grievance and disciplinary procedure and circulate this to all your members of staff and the management team
●    stay aware of any potential workplace issues and take action to resolve these as soon as possible
●    strictly follow the terms and conditions contained within all employment contracts

The employment lawyers at CH Legal  can ensure that you have policies in place to help prevent any constructive dismissal claims. To find out more, get in touch with Caroline Tomlinson or call 0845 4786 354.