Constructive dismissal – an explanation
Summary of constructive dismissal
A constructive dismissal may occur where an employee is forced to quit from their job because of the conduct of their employer. Find out below what you should do if you feel like you’re being forced to resign.
What is constructive dismissal?
Constructive dismissal occurs if you’ve been forced to resign from your employment because of the conduct of your employer or its employees. If you’re being treated in a poor fashion by your employer or its employees then you may be entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
In order to claim constructive dismissal you would need to show that:
- Your employer is guilty of conduct that is a serious breach of your contract of employment
- Because of that conduct you were forced to leave your employment
- You left as a result of the breach and you haven’t just ignored your employer’s breach of contract
Examples of constructive dismissal
Your employer’s conduct must be sufficiently serious to entitle you to resign from your employment. Examples of conduct which may be sufficiently serious to justify your resignation include:
- Changing fundamental terms of your contract (such as, among others, your working hours, your duties, or your position)
- A failure to comply with the terms of your contract (such as, among others, demoting you or failing to pay you without good reason)
- Making you work in dangerous conditions
- Failure to deal with co-workers bullying you or harassing you
How to deal with the problems you’re experiencing
Speak to your manager
Before you do anything else you should email or speak to your manager privately about the problems you’ve been experiencing. By doing so you may be able to resolve the problem internally and avoid recourse to legal action.
If the problem is with your manager then you could talk to another person, such as:
- Your line manager’s manager
- Your business’ human resources department
- The employee representative for your business (such as a Trade Union representative), if you have one
- ACAS or other employment advisory service (such as Direct 2 Lawyers)
Submit a grievance
You can either do this at the same time as talking to your manager or after (if your conversation with your manager has no effect). You should submit a written grievance to your manager and to another appropriate impartial senior person in the business. You should use your business’ standard grievance procedure if you’ve been provided with a copy of one. If you haven’t been provided with this then ask to see it.
- Click here for a grievance letter precedent
How to get advice on your constructive dismissal claim
Direct 2 Lawyers offer free, impartial advice on your constructive dismissal claim. Call 0845 544 1395 to talk to a qualified expert employment lawyer now.
Alternatively, there are a number of sources that you can get advice on constructive dismissal claims from:
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
How to submit a claim for constructive dismissal
You can either submit a claim for unfair dismissal by yourself or instruct a specialist employment lawyer to do so on your behalf.