Constructive dismissal - when enough is enough

 

By Cassandra Anane

Many employees all over the UK are suffering at work. The most common reasons for this are bullying, harassment, victimisation, and even the conduct of a line manager. If this kind of treatment is something that you can identify with, you may have grounds for constructive dismissal.

Constructive dismissal is where an employee feels that they have no other viable option available to them other than to leave their place of employment. This decision needs to be based on the fact that resignation is taking place purely because of the inadequate and unfair treatment to which the employee is being subjected.

Within these difficult economic times, many people fear leaving their jobs and simply opt to put up with the torment. Making the bold step of leaving your place of employment can be extremely harrowing, so pursuing a constructive dismissal claims needs to be the last resort of the employee.

Prior to making this decision, it is a vital requirement that an attempt was made to deal with the issue relating to the potential constructive dismissal claim internally. The internal procedure will vary from organisation to organisation, but it is vital that the employee has used it to attempt to resolve the problem.

Part of the internal complaints process is drafting a grievance. Once this grievance has been submitted, the employer has a legal obligation to investigate into the matter. If after the investigation the matter is still unresolved (along with all other internal procedures), constructive dismissal may be the only way forward.

So, if all other options have been exhausted and you truly feel enough is enough then there are three main points which you must prove in order to claim constructive dismissal:

  • A serious breach of contract (on your employer’s side) has occurred - a clear example of this would be not paying you your wages
  • The breach was so severe that you felt you had no other option but to leave - for instance, being told that you suddenly have to relocate to an area 100 miles away
  • You haven’t through conduct done anything to suggest that you have accepted this breach or change in your working contract

As an employee you have the right to resign over one serious incident or after a build up of a number of incidents. However, it is important that resignation occurs immediately in order to show you have not accepted the changes.

If you are considering claiming constructive dismissal, give us a call at Contract Law and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Cassandra Anane is one of Caven’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.

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