What is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive Dismissal, or Constructive Unfair Dismissal, covers the situation whereby an employer behaves in a manner which entitles an employee to resign and claim unfair dismissal.

The circumstances in which an employer may constructively dismiss an employee are varied. The test which will generally be applied is whether or not the employer acted in a manner which was calculated to destroy the trust and confidence which it is necessary to have for the proper working of the employment relationship (or had that effect).

Examples of claims that can be made for Constructive Dismissal

Examples of breaches of contract by an employer entitling an employee to claim constructive dismissal includes:

  • Failing to pay wages due or meet other contractual obligations;
  • Rudeness; and
  • Discrimination.

How do I make a claim for constructive dismissal?

Employees contemplating resigning and claiming constructive unfair dismissal need to be very clear why they are resigning. In some cases, employees resign because of one particular event or sometimes because of a series of events (the last straw).

Where an employee is dismissed in a constructive unfair dismissal situation and he/she has two years’ service, then he/she can raise unfair dismissal proceedings.

The employee has to prove the conduct was complained of, and must also prove that he/she resigned because of that conduct.

What remedies are available for constructive dismissal? 

The usual remedies available in an unfair dismissal situation apply. These, subject to the statutory caps, are:

Reinstatement 

I.e. to get your old job back

Re-engagement 

I.e. to get another job with the employer

Compensation

I.e. a Basic Award and a Compensatory Award

Statutory Caps on Compensation

Regarding compensation, the statutory caps set out in the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2017 are as follows:

  • For cases where the effective date of termination falls on or after 6th April 2017, the statutory cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal is £80,541.
  • The maximum statutory redundant payment and basic award in unfair dismissal cases is £14,370.

How can Turcan Connell help you? 

Our team of experienced employment law solicitors often advise on whether the circumstances complained of amount to a constructive dismissal and if so whether it is also unfair. Contact one of our employment law specialists today.

We’re always happy to discuss things further.
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