If you feel that you've been forced into resigning due to your employer's behavior or a change in your contract terms has made your position untenable, then you may be able to bring a claim for constructive dismissal. This is the term used when an employee feels that they have no option but to leave their job, as a result of their employer's actions.

Do you feel that you've had no choice but to resign?

This can sometimes be a terrible thing to have to admit. After all, leaving your employment and losing the protection of your contract can leave you feeling vulnerable. However, the truth is that if constructive dismissal has occurred, then you have already lost the protection of your contract.

Oratto member solicitors will able to discuss with you how best to proceed. This will be both in terms of your rights in relation to new employment and what, if anything, you wish to do about having to leave your old job.

Proving constructive dismissal

This is not always an easy ground to prove, but the Employment Rights Act 1996 goes some way to offering support to constructive dismissal cases. The Act states that it will be a dismissal that will have been deemed to have occurred if the employee terminates their contract in circumstances where they are able to do so without giving notice; crucially, this must be due to the bad conduct of the employer.

Oratto member lawyers have a wealth of experience in constructive dismissal instances which they can bring to your case. We can connect you instantly with a highly experienced lawyer who will begin advising you immediately. In order to demonstrate that constructive dismissal has occurred, there are three stages to go through. You must show:

  • that there has been a serious breach of your employment contract
  • that you did not accept that breach
  • that you felt compelled to resign as a result of this breach

The breach that has occurred must be shown to be a fundamental breach, as opposed to a minor one. There are a number of ways in which this can be proved; however, some are more straightforward than others. Examples of a fundamental breach of contract would be:

  • failure to pay you the agreed amount of pay on the agreed date
  • altering your hours, or place of work, without getting your agreement
  • failing to support you in your role
  • making it impossible for you to do your job
  • ignoring health and safety regulations and creating a dangerous work situation

Whilst the above is just a small collection of the types of reasons which can be used to demonstrate constructive dismissal, they do not include the most common ground:

"a breach of mutual trust and confidence"

This is not specifically stated in contracts, but instead it is an implied term which is found in every employment contract. It is most often used in constructive dismissal cases because it covers behaviour such as bullying, humiliating and harassing staff members. The employee must demonstrate that their decision to leave was in direct response to such a breach.

Situations tend to differ from one to the next. Solicitors from Oratto will be able to advise you specifically on your rights in accordance with your individual circumstances. Constructive dismissal is not grounds for a claim in and of itself, but instead it can be used to bring a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal.

Constructive dismissal can seem like one of the most daunting cases to begin, simply because of the direct challenge to your employer. However employment law exists to protect you and this is no exception. There are clearly stated grounds for what is and isn't acceptable in the workplace. If your employer's behaviour is such that you feel that there is no way that you can continue in your job, then you may well be able to prove constructive dismissal.

Contact Oratto today for specialised, experienced advice on the best way forward for you.