Constructive Dismissal

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is when an employee is forced to leave their job against their will because of their employer’s conduct. The reasons for leaving the job must be serious, such as:

  • the employee is demoted without reason
  • salary is stopped
  • the employee is harassed or bullied

What is the eligibility criteria for an employee bringing a constructive dismissal claim?

Employees must be very wary of affirming a contract of employment by remaining employed by their employer. An employee can raise a grievance before resigning and then seek to claim constructive dismissal following the outcome. It is important in this situation that a grievance is raised in a timely fashion.

Like unfair dismissal, an employee must have worked continuously for an employer for a period of two years and have the requisite length of service before they are able to present a constructive dismissal claim.

Should an employee work their notice if they wish to bring a claim for constructive dismissal?

An employee can work their notice and still present a claim for constructive dismissal. There is no requirement for them to resign without notice. A successful claim for constructive dismissal can be brought after giving notice however an employer might argue that its behaviour was not bad enough to justify the employee leaving their job.

Are there any time limits if an employee wishes to present a constructive unfair dismissal claim?

Like unfair dismissal, an employee should present a claim for constructive dismissal at an Employment Tribunal within three months less a day of their termination date.

If an employee chooses to resign they should make it clear in writing that it is in response to an employer’s fundamental breach and not for any other reason.

How can an employee fund a constructive dismissal claim?

We are able to offer various funding options for constructive dismissal claims. If you pay us privately for the time we spend on the claim, we will give you a cost estimate at the start of the case which we will update as the case proceeds.  We can also agree a fixed fee for each stage of the work if this is appropriate. You might have legal expenses insurance which will cover our costs (your home and car insurance policies may include legal cover). In some circumstances we can act on a No Win No Fee* basis.

For more information, or to discuss your case, please contact our employment law specialists in Halifax, Maureen Cawthorn or James Hodgson on 01422 339600.


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