How to Prove Constructive Dismissal after Leaving Your Job
Being unhappy in a job is an awful feeling, especially if you feel like you’re being treated badly at work. When you’ve had no choice but to resign due to workplace issues, it can feel like an impossible situation. Knowing how to prove constructive dismissal is the first step forward.
If your boss has made unreasonable demands of you, or you’ve been the victim of bullying, we can help guide you through how to prove constructive dismissal.
What Exactly is Constructive Dismissal?
Constructive dismissal is when you have been left with no choice but to resign from your job because of how you have been treated.
A claim of constructive dismissal can be brought to the employment tribunal when your boss has broken your employment contract, or UK employment law, leaving you unable to continue working for them.
There are many ways your employer could have failed to meet their obligations. For example:
- They put your health and safety at risk
- They demoted you, or changed the job position without fair reason
- They took away benefits that you were originally promised
- They didn’t provide you with all the support that you needed to do your job properly
- They refused to pay you what you are owed
- They allowed other members of the company to bully or harass you at work
In most of these examples it can be easily proved or disproved that your employer broke the law, by comparing your employment contract to the circumstances under which you were made to work. Your employment contract is very important, so it is vital that you have read and kept copies of all contracts and amendments if you want to later bring forward a claim for constructive dismissal.
Can I prove constructive dismissal?
Proving constructive dismissal becomes most difficult when it relates to bullying at work, as there is no legal definition of bullying. Bullying is difficult to prove, as in many instances it is your word against your boss’s.
You will need to have worked in your job for a minimum of two years to be able to make a constructive dismissal claim against your employer. If you have worked for this minimum period, it is important that you prepare well and take steps to gather all of the evidence to prove that you had no choice but to resign from your job. If you are uncertain what evidence you may need, we will go through this with you.
The gathered evidence will provide our trained employment law solicitors with the tools to take your case all the way to court and help you win a successful claim of constructive dismissal.
How to Prove Constructive Dismissal and Make a Claim
If possible, it is best to have made clear requests to your line manager to try and resolve the matter while you are still employed at your job. If a casual chat with the appropriate person has failed, then you can consider taking the next step.
This would generally mean raising a formal complaint within the company – an action which is also known as raising a grievance. At this point, it is important to start recording as much of the process as possible in writing. Your formal complaint should be submitted in this way, and your boss should take the opportunity to solve the issue with an official meeting that will allow you to explain all of your problems.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal meeting, or if it fails to solve the ongoing issues, you may ultimately decide that you have no choice but to quit your job. However, it will work in your favour if you can prove that you have made a major effort to solve your problems whilst still employed, and that you gave your boss a chance to improve your work situation before taking action against them.
One step along from internal action is ‘Early Conciliation.’ This is the first step in making a claim to an Employment Tribunal and is designed to try and further resolve the issue without it having to go all the way to court. If this also fails, our diligent solicitors can help you to organise the facts and evidence of your case and fully prepare your claim to prove constructive dismissal.
Getting the Proof
When bringing your case to court, the main legal test is whether or not it can be proven that your boss clearly ignored their contractual obligations. In relation to issues such as: working hours, agreed benefits, suitable training, your job description and your pay, they will carefully examine what was originally agreed.
If the court believes that you were either warned of likely changes when you started at your job, or were asked about them before they happened, your case of proving constructive dismissal against your employer could fail. Also, if these changes have been made instead of something much worse happening – like losing your job completely – then they also might be considered to be fair.
Although much more difficult to prove, being protected from bullying and harassment can also be considered as terms of your contract, and the official duties that your boss must carry out. You may be able to make a claim for constructive dismissal due to bullying when you can prove:
- Failure from employers to follow an anti-bullying or anti-harassment procedure, or a refusal to carry out any kind of official investigation into your claims of bullying or harassment
- Employers are ignoring their obligations under common-law duties. As your boss, these include a standard duty of care, and the duty of mutual trust and confidence. This means that they must ensure that you are treated with dignity at work and are at no point intimidated or humiliated. All claims must be taken seriously.
If you feel that your employer has broken these terms and that you were therefore left with no choice but to leave your job, you may have a bullying case that we can help you with. However, it’s worth saying that there’s no legal definition of bullying. This means that, in a lot of constructive dismissal cases, the employer will try and justify their behaviour as a difference in personality.
A particularly cruel boss may try and pass off their criticisms as part of their management style and say that the victim is simply ‘too sensitive.’ Workplace bullying may also be explained away as ‘just a joke.’ This does make some cases challenging, but it is not impossible to win with the right support to confidently prove constructive dismissal.
Leaving your Job
Dealing with this kind of behaviour is exhausting, never mind hurtful, and you will likely feel that you can’t go back to work. If you’re frightened to go back, or don’t feel safe in your workplace, leaving without notice is likely the best option. If your working hours have unreasonably changed, or your place of work has changed to an impossible location, you may also feel that you have no choice but to resign.
‘Working under protest’ is the technical term for when you have made it clear that you do not accept the changes to your contract but continue to carry out your work. This may affect any later legal claims, and so it is not recommended to be carried out for a long period of time if you truly want to leave your job and make a constructive dismissal claim. In every case, make sure that you have told your employer in writing exactly why it is that you’ve resigned – whether it is because of unreasonable changes to your working conditions, or unbearable bullying at work.
How can AWH help me prove constructive dismissal?
We understand that being in-between jobs is always stressful, and that leaving your previous job under difficult circumstances can make this time even harder. If you’ve found no solutions and are considering leaving your job, we can offer advice. If you’ve already been pushed too far and can no longer face work, we can also offer to guide you through the next challenging steps.
Our expert legal advisors are trained in carefully analysing the evidence you provide. They will be able to support you through the whole process of your constructive dismissal claim and will always aim to get the best possible outcome that you truly deserve.
Starting the process couldn’t be more simple!
- Contact us Get in touch however suits you best and arrange a consulation with one of our solicitors
- Meet an expert You’ll meet the expert solicitor assigned to your case and discuss all the necessary details
- Authorise Once we’ve got all the details of your case and you’re happy to proceed, just give us the go-ahead
- We get to work It’s time for us to get to work! We’ll set up your file on our system and get to work right away
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