When you find yourself in a work situation that you feel is unbearable, often you will resign from your post. If this happens, you may be able to prove that your employer’s conduct forced you to resign: this is.
The main reason people may want to prove constructive dismissal is so they can claim foragainst their employer.
If you’re thinking about trying to prove constructive dismissal but have not yet left your job, you should think carefully about resigning. You need to prove that your employer’s behaviour amounts to a breach of contract.
Before making any rash decisions, you should seek legal advice. Citizen’s Advice may be able to give you a better idea about whether your case constitutes constructive dismissal.
It’s always best to go through your firm’s official channels before you resign. If you find it hard to speak to your manager, take it to your company’s human resources department and/or go through the grievance procedure. If you’re a member of a trade union, consult your representative for advice and support, and see if they can intervene in any way. Organisations such as ACAS can also help to mediate the situation between you and your employer.
Once you have established you have a case for constructive dismissal, you should leave your job straight away – otherwise your employer may claim that, by remaining in your job, you accepted the conduct or treatment. You should tell your employer why you’re leaving and that you are planning to claim constructive dismissal.
Under, an employer is required not to behave in a way that destroys the relationship of ‘trust’ and ‘confidence’ between them and their employees. There are many things that an employer may do that will destroy this relationship.
If you want to claim constructive dismissal, the reasons for you leaving must be serious. The employer’s breach of contract may be one serious incident, but it is more common that an accumulation of things have made you feel your position is untenable.
Behaviour justifying a claim for constructive dismissal could include:
If you have been constructively dismissed, you can take your case to an employment tribunal and claim compensation from your employer. It will be up to you to prove that your employer has acted in a way that made your position untenable and goes to the root of your employment relationship.
You must have worked for your employer as an employee for a minimum period before you can do this. If you started your job on or after 6 April 2012, the qualifying period is normally two years. If you started your job before 6 April 2012, the qualifying period is usually one year.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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