What is constructive dismissal?
Constructive dismissal refers to a situation in which an employer breaches the terms of an employee’s contract or UK employment regulation, placing them in such a difficult position they feel like they have no choice but to resign.
Your constructive dismissal compensation claim will only be accepted by the employment tribunal if you meet the specific requirements set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
These breaches can refer to both the implied and expressed terms in the employment contract. Typically, they include factors such as workplace safety and the right to the minimum wage.
Examples of constructive dismissal
There are lots of examples of constructive dismissal, but working hours are a very common reason behind them. Employers are entitled to change the working hours or duties of their staff, so long as they agree it with them first.
If an employer changed the hours with the deliberate intention of forcing them to quit, this would be classed as a breach of contract and the employee could make a claim for constructive dismissal.
Your employer cannot change the terms of your employment contract without your consent.
Causes for constructive dismissal
Here are some more employer behaviours that could lead to a constructive dismissal claim:
- Demoting staff without reason
- Unjustified reduction of working hours
- Refusal of company benefits
- Failure to address complaints or grievances, especially in regards to how an employee is treated
- Forcing an employee to relocate or travel without warning
- Paying staff less than what was agreed or changing their duties
If an employer has done any of the above to you and it made you feel like you had no choice but to leave, we can help you file a claim for constructive dismissal. No employer should make their employees feel so uncomfortable that they quit.
We want to help you hold your ex-employer accountable for their actions and get you the compensation you need to cover financial losses and your suffering.
Going through the grievance procedure
Reporting a grievance to your employer
When an incident occurs, you should always attempt to address it with your employer first. You should do this through the official channels set out in the company’s grievance procedure.
By reporting your grievance you are able to collect evidence for any tribunal claims that may occur later. You also open up the opportunity that your employer makes amends for the grievance and you can both repair the relationship.
How you benefit from using your grievance procedure
Not filing a grievance with your employer before resigning won’t affect how valid your constructive dismissal compensation claim is, but it could reduce your compensation award by up to 25 per cent.
The employment tribunal will recognise a grievance as a sign you have tried to resolve the issue on good terms before things spiralled. This will generally be seen favourably.
Constructive dismissal guidance and support
How we can help you
We understand that feeling like you have no other choice but to resign because of your employer’s actions is awful. You might be worried about money, and it might affect your life outside of work too.
When our employment law solicitors help you file a constructive dismissal compensation claim, all your suffering – including financial – will be taken into account. We want to help get you the best result we can so that you can get right back on your feet and look forward to your future.
- Am I eligible to claim for constructive dismissal compensation?
In order to file a constructive dismissal claim you must satisfy two criteria:
- You must have been working for your employer for two continuous years
- Your resignation must have occurred as a direct result of your employer’s actions
The only reason you might be exempt from the two-year qualifying period is if your case involves harassment or discrimination.
You will have to have some sort of evidence that you left because of your employer's actions. It's usually acceptable to use a copy of your resignation letter, in which you should outline your reason for leaving.
- Is there a time limit for making a claim?
In most cases you need to put your constructive dismissal compensation claim forward within three months of your resignation.
Continuing to work for your employer after they have breached your contract would be known as ‘affirming your breach’. Doing this means you can no longer pursue a claim for constructive dismissal.
You need to have formally resigned before you can start the claims process. A copy of your resignation letter should be kept as proof.
If constructive dismissal claims fail it’s very often because the employee continued working for the company after the breach of contract.
- Why should I seek legal advice?
We understand that pursuing legal action against your employer can be complex and nerve-wracking.
You should always seek professional support before filing a claim with an employment tribunal, regardless of what you are claiming for. Our employment law solicitors operate on a no-win-no-fee basis, so you will not pay a penny unless you win.
- What evidence do I need to provide to support my claim?
In a constructive dismissal case you need to provide evidence of your employer’s wrongdoing, which can be hard to do.
You need to consider what evidence you can provide and what evidence your previous employer is likely to provide in their defense. One of our employment law solicitors can guide you through the process and help you estimate your chances of success when taking your claim forward.
Just like most claims, it is in your best interest to gather as much evidence as you can. Knowing how to prove constructive dismissalis key.
The evidence you assemble should prove how your employer has breached your contract or acted in an unfair way. The kind of evidence you might want to gather includes emails, printed letters and notes from meetings.
- Which specific documents can I provide as evidence for my constructive dismissal claim?
Grievance procedures have to be fully documented. If you have attempted to handle the issue by filing a grievance before you resigned, you can use the grievance process to share that paperwork and prove that you tried to resolve the issue on good terms.
It can also demonstrate your reason for resigning by showing how your grievance wasn’t dealt with effectively.
Your letter of resignation and any responses to it from your employer will also help.
Store your evidence somewhere safe
One thing to remember is to make sure the documents and evidence you gather are saved in a safe space. This needs to be somewhere you can still access after you have left the company.
Company email addresses, email archives and documents saved on your work station could be deleted by your employer when you leave, in order to make room for a new employee. It can therefore be a good idea to make copies.
- What amount of compensation could I receive for constructive dismissal?
Generally speaking, compensation for successful constructive dismissal claims is calculated in the same way as unfair dismissal claims. It is based on the wages and benefits you have lost as a result of your constructive dismissal.
Each case is different and judged on its individual merits, but we will do everything in our power to secure you the maximum compensatory amount. The highest award ever given in the UK currently stands at £83,682.
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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