Constructive Dismissal In Focus

Trouble in the workplace

The legal term 'constructive dismissal' relates to situations where workers leave their jobs, due to the illegal actions of the employer. In circumstances where employers refuse to change their unacceptable behavior, a member of staff might be forced to resign, because the employer has breached their contract -- thereby invalidating the job. There are many regulations and rules surrounding constructive dismissal. Therefore, those wanting to leave their job in this manner should speak to an employment solicitor, to keep the process valid and legal.

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How it Works in Practice

If a staff member has to leave their job because of constructive dismissal, they will often accept the breach(es) of the employer straightaway and leave the company without working a notice period. Sometimes though, a staff member might choose to work a period of notice, and -- as long as they don't affirm the contract of employment - constructive dismissal will come into effect subsequently. It is important to realise that, just because an employer behaves unreasonably, this might not be sufficient grounds for a staff member to resign with constructive dismissal.

Why Problems Arise Between Staff and Employers 

A staff member might claim constructive dismissal for a number of reasons. Employers who illegally reduce salaries, fail to pay salaries on time, prohibit earned holidays, harass staff members in a physical, verbal or sexual way, or sabotage the work of employees might fall foul of this law. Other examples of unacceptable behaviour include changing the job location or hours suddenly, failing to offer a safe working environment, or falsely accusing staff members of wrong doing.

What Action to Take

Employees should provide a written explanation about why they are handing their notice in. They should cover why their relationship with the employer has deteriorated, and the specific incidents that have triggered their resignation. As already stated, many people resign immediately, because delaying their resignation might undermine their case. Although working a notice period is legally permissible and might suit people in some circumstances, it is not generally recommended. If you continue to work for the employer, you leave yourself open to accusations that the problems are not as 'terrible' as you are claiming.

The Legal and Financial Ramifications

Lawsuits concerning constructive dismissal can involve large payouts if successful. In some cases, employers might have to pay a staff member's salary. Also, they might have to compensate staff for their loss of earnings while looking for another job.