Specialist Constructive Dismissal Solicitors
Employment Compensation Claim Specialists
Our experienced Constructive Dismissal Solicitors understand that being unhappy at work causes enormous stress. We strongly recommend early legal advice from an expert employment law solicitor.
Our employment law solicitors provide legal advice to both employers and employees on Constructive Dismissal Claims throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset and further afield from our offices in Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge and Amesbury.
What is Constructive Dismissal?
If you feel you are being forced out of your job or your employer is acting so badly that you have no option other than to leave, you may be able to bring a Constructive Dismissal Claim.
Constructive Dismissal occurs when an employee resigns because of actions by the employer which makes it impossible for an employee to carry on working. This treatment must be sufficiently severe to go to the heart of the employment contract. Constructive Dismissal can either be caused by one particular action or a series of events.
Claims for Constructive Dismissal Compensation are based on the employer’s breach of your contract of employment. This might be a breach of something written in your terms and conditions, the job advert or staff handbook. It might also include breaching implied terms such as your employer’s duty of care towards its employees or duty to act reasonably.
Common examples of Constructive Dismissal include an employer cuttting your pay, changing your job description, working hours or place of work or refusing to improve intolerable working conditions.
Fundamental breaches of implied terms leading to Constructive Dismissal might include making it impossible for you to do your job effectively, failing to give you reasonable support to carry out your job without disruption or harassment from fellow workers or wrongly accusing you of theft without evidence.
You must have been employed at least one year to make a constructive dismissal claim. With under one year’s employment, you may still be able to claim constructive dismissal if you can show that you were dismissed for an automatically unfair reason.
Consider a formal grievance
If you are fed up with how you are treated by your employer, you should make a formal grievance, explaining why you are unhappy. Under statutory grievance procedures, your employer has 28 days to respond to such a grievance. You should attempt to be flexible, reasonable and constructive in trying to resolve the problem with your boss. Employment Tribunals often look more sympathetically on employees who have tried to resolve problems.
Our solicitors understand that employees wishing to claim constructive dismissal often suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. If you feel like this, you must seek medical advice and ensure your employer knows you are absent because of their actions.
Constructive dismissal and unfair dismissal – the differences
Being unfairly dismissed refers to a dismissal which does not come within one of the statutory fair reasons of conduct, capability, redundancy, retirement, illegality or “some other substantial reason”.
A claim for unfair dismissal compensation only succeeds if a worker can prove that their employer acted unreasonably. However any dismissal which comes within one of the reasons above and in respect of which the employer carried out a fair disciplinary process is unlikely to succeed in any unfair dismissal claim.
Employment tribunals can currently award up to a maximum of £68,040 for any successful unfair dismissal claims.
In contrast, constructive dismissal takes place in cases without any express dismissal – when a worker decides to resign without giving notice after a “fundamental breach of contract” by their boss i.e. something occurred which was serious enough to undermine the entire employer/employee contractual relationship. This can either consist of a series of events or be a more substantial one-off event.
How to prove constructive dismissal
An employment tribunal looks at each constructive dismissal separately – to succeed in a constructive dismissal claim, a worker must prove;
- breach of contract AND
- that the breach justified their resignation AND
- that they resigned as a direct result of that breach AND
- that they didn’t effectively accept the breach by staying in the job for too long after that breach.
There is no definition of what “too long” actually means – though anything over a week will often undermine the claim. If an employer suspects they may have a problem with a potential constructive dismissal, they should try to resolve the problem as soon as possible and ideally get the worker’s confirmation writing to carry on working as normal.
Employment Tribunal Time limits
Our solicitors recommend that you don’t delay in deciding whether to resign. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date that you resigned within which you must make an employment tribunal claim. If you delay, a tribunal may take this as a sign you agreed to changes in your contract – the key point about Constructive Dismissal is that the breach of contract is so basic that you can’t carry on working.
Contact our Constructive Dismissal Solicitors
If you ultimately feel that you have no alternative than to resign, then handing in your notice may constitute Constructive Dismissal. Unless your conditions are absolutely intolerable, our Solicitors strongly advise that you take specialist employment law legal advice before resigning. Each case is different and it is important to get legal advice on your particular situation.
For specialist legal advice, contact our Constructive Dismissal Solicitors today.