What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal relates to an unfortunate situation in which an employee finds themselves forced to leave their job against their will, due to conduct by the company. There are a number of reasons that people leave their employment, and these can be serious, for example non-payment of salary or a demotion in a role. A company may also force an employee on to night shift when the contract is for day work only. Allowing other employees to harass or bully a worker, making life in the business uncomfortable, also can lead to a positive outcome in a claim.

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What is the first step in the process?

Employees who feel they are being unfairly treated should first speak to their employer to try to resolve the issue before it escalates. Often, getting management involved and getting both sides to state their case may lead to a resolution that suits both parties.

When is dismissal likely to be deemed unfair?

There are various reasons as to why a dismissal may be deemed unfair. For example, if a parent lodged an application for flexible working and they were refused with no reason given, this can be unfair. A refusal to allow an employee to take rest breaks leading to tiredness and stress, can also be unfair. Treating someone differently because they joined a trade union or took part in industrial action can also amount to constructive dismissal. Refusing to allow an employee time off for jury service, treating a new mother differently upon her return from maternity leave, whistleblowing and forcing someone to retire due to their age are all potentially valid reasons for constructive dismissal claims.

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What if I notice a continuing pattern of behaviour on the part of the employer?

It could be more than just one incident that is deemed a breach of contract by the employer. Often, employees will detect a continuing pattern of behaviour or a cluster of incidents which, when put together, amount to a breach. Bullying and harassment are examples of sustained behaviour that can lead to an employee feeling isolated, frustrated, stressed and harassed. The final incident which leads an employee to resign from the company should be combined with previous incidents to present a case that shows breach of trust.

Who can help me with a constructive dismissal claim?

An https://www.employmentlawfriend.co.uk/constructive-dismissal Employment Law Friend constructive dismissal claim can help get you back on your feet and prepare for a new working future. Taking guidance from professionals is the first step in the process if all else fails. Professionals will be able to demonstrate that the employer has not just behaved unreasonably but that there has been a fundamental breach of a contractual term.

They will be able to show that the employee has resigned because of the breach and not for another unrelated reason. In a recent case an English teacher won a legal case after she was given ‘humiliating’ feedback on lessons by assessors who reportedly broke their own rules. The teacher was then accused of ‘playing the race card’ when she made a complaint.

How long must I be employed by the company to make a claim for constructive dismissal?

The minimum threshold is two years, so you will need to be in that position for the full two years. Unfortunately, employers can dismiss an employee with less than two years’ service without having to demonstrate a valid reason for the decision. After the two years are completed, an employee will have the right to begin a claim for unfair dismissal if they find themselves in that unfortunate position.

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