employment law

Constructive Dismissal

Have you been, or are you being forced to resign?

We all have bad days at work, but if your employer is making life so difficult or miserable you feel resigning from your job is the only option, then you might have a case for constructive dismissal.

Breaking point

There are many reasons why you might feel like you’re being forced to leave your job.

You might be repeatedly paid late or refused the holidays you’re entitled to. It could be your current role is causing you stress and your employer won’t provide the necessary support to help. Maybe you’ve been the victim of workplace bullying.

To claim constructive dismissal, there doesn’t need to be just one serious incident.

You could have a case if there have been a series of events leading up to you handing in your resignation.

“I quit”

It can be difficult to prove a claim for constructive dismissal.

If you’re going to make a case you need to be able to show:

• Your employer has committed a serious breach of contract
• You have been forced to leave because of this breach
• You haven’t done anything or acted in anyway that may suggest you accept the breach of contract and/or the change in your employment conditions

If your employer is in breach of contract and has behaved in such a way that you are forced to leave your job, you don’t have to resign immediately.

You can continue to work until you find a new job. If you decide to do this, you need to make sure you have made it clear you don’t find the breach of contract acceptable.

Be careful not to wait too long to hand in your resignation though, as this could suggest you have accepted the breach.

Claiming damages

Should you be successful in your claim, you could be entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal.

In some cases, if you have been in your role for at least a year (if employed before 6 April 2012) or at least 2 years (if employed after 6 April 2012) then you could also be entitled to a claim for unfair dismissal

First steps

There are a few steps it is advisable to take before you make a claim for unfair dismissal.

In most circumstances it’s worth trying to resolve any workplace issues informally. Before you escalate the problem, try to discuss it with your employer to see if your situation improves or the issue is rectified.

Your employer should have procedures in place to manage performance, discipline and grievance, and dismissal – which should be communicated to all employees and be implemented consistently and fairly. Ask to see these if you haven’t been made aware of them.

If your employer suspects you might lodge a claim for constructive dismissal when you hand in your notice, they may write to you, asking you to reconsider your decision to resign.

Don’t feel like you have to rush a decision. If you’re uncertain about anything, speak to a solicitor who specialises in employment law to see what your options are.

How we can help

As specialists in employment law, we can help you if you are considering making a claim for constructive dismissal.

From initial advice and assessing if you have a case, to supporting you during the employment tribunal, we can help at every step of the way.

Please contact our employment lawyers via Daniel Zakis on 0121 705 7571 or email danielzakis@wallacerobinson.co.uk.

Further reading:

What you need to know about Unfair Dismissal (Employment Law)

Age Discrimination - an age old problem? (Employment Law)

What is a Compromise or Settlement Agreement? (Employment Law)

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.