Understanding the term "Constructive Dismissal" and How to Claim For It

In the last few months, there has been a lot of buzz regarding to constructive dismissals. With a number of proposed changes in the employment law for the year 2018, many employers and employees are naturally curious to know more about how to tackle issues such as constructive dismissal. First, we must familiarise ourselves with the term itself. In case an employee leaves his/her job due to their employer's behaviour, particularly when the employer has made life tough and the employee feels that they cannot remain in their job, it is considered a constructive dismissal under employment law. When such a thing happens, the employee’s resignation is considered as an actual dismissal by his/her employer. Subsequently, the employee can claim for unfair dismissal.

Claim Process

If you are making a claim for constructive dismissal, it is mandatory for you to have completed two consecutive years of employment (if your employment started after the 1st of April 2012). By continuous employment, it refers to a period that you have completed with your company without any breaks. Earlier, this time limit was limited to one year of continuous employment; however, it was increased up to two years in April 2012, as a part of the changes made to the employment law by the Coalition Governments.

Claim for Constructive Dismissal

You can successfully claim for a constructive dismissal if your employer has violated a substantial term of your employment contract (which you have not accepted). Subsequently, you felt compelled to resign. Examples of constructive dismissal include:

  • Managers not supporting in difficult work situations
  • Harassing or humiliating employees, especially in front of peers and other less senior staff
  • Victimising or targeting particular staff
  • Finalising a significant change in the employee's job location, particularly at a short notice
  • Changing the employee's job content or employment terms without consultation
  • Excessive disciplining or demotion of employees
  • Falsely accusing the employee of misconduct of petty theft or ineptitude while carrying out their job

As an employee, you can hand over your resignation over one serious incident or due to multiple incidents. However, you must resign soon after the incident takes place, if you want to convince the employment tribunal. According to leading employment solicitors, you must file a claim within three months of resigning, as a general rule. Furthermore, you must note that if you are being constructively dismissed, it only proves that the employee was dismissed. It doesn’t automatically show that the dismissal was unfair. Therefore, you have to approach an employment tribunal and prove that you have suffered an unfair dismissal.

Unfair Dismissals

There are certain instances in which the dismissal is automatically considered as unfair. These scenarios include -

  • Denial of maternity leave
  • Discrimination against employees
  • Unfair selection for redundancy
  • Failure to provide minimum notice

Wrapping Up

Constructive dismissal is both morally and professionally wrong. If you believe that you have a claim, it is important that you get employment law advice from a reputable employment solicitor. Having a solicitor at your corner will not only help you traverse through the complex maze of employment law, but also make your claim more convincing and comprehensive.

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