Constructive Dismissal

Have your work, working conditions, managers or colleagues led to your feeling unable to continue your job and being pressurized to resign?  If so, you may have a case for a Constructive Dismissal Claim.

What is Constructive Dismissal?  Constructive Dismissal is considered to be a form of Wrongful Dismissal. As an employee, you have rights, and your employer has obligations.  You should be treated fairly and reasonably.  You should not lose job without appropriate reasons and without receiving a proper paid notice period.  If your position is no longer required, you may be entitled to a redundancy payment.

An employer can sack an employee.  But if this is without proper cause and not done in the right way, it will cost the employer money.  If you chose to leave your job, you will forego many of these rights - you will not be entitled to redundancy payments and, if you do not work during the notice period, you may not receive payment for it.  Constructive Dismissal is a situation where an employee is deemed to have been treated unreasonably by their employers in a manner that causes them to resign.

Constructive Dismissal Entitlements  The basis for most Constructive Dismissal awards is to reimburse the employee for loss of earnings from a proper period of notice - this will obviously depend upon the nature of the employment and the length of service.  However, some awards - for instance those related to violation of the employee's Human Rights may exceed this.

If you have a legitimate case for a Constructive Dismissal Claim, many businesses may choose to settle out of court rather than incur the significant legal costs of defending a case.  As a claimant, if you go to court and lose, unless you can obtain Legal Aid or have a No Win No Fee agreement with a Law Firm - you may find yourself liable for the legal costs of your employers - this would be more likely if you turned down a reasonable offer for an out of court settlement.

Do you have a Constructive Dismissal Claim?  Ultimately this is down to the courts to decide, although a suitable Employment Lawyer will be able to advise you on your chances for success.  Issues to consider include:

Constructive Dismissal - if your job has changed or you are treated in such an unreasonable manner that you feel under pressure to resign, you may be entitled to claim that you have been constructively dismissed.  If your remuneration or working conditions have been degraded, or your level of responsibility or authority reduced ,there may be a case for Constructive Dismissal.  If the behaviour of your superiors or colleagues towards you is unacceptable and has led to you feeling unable to carry on in your job, this too could be the basis of an Constructive Dismissal Claim.  Your case would be strengthened if you have actually left your job - or are possibly not working due to stress related illnesses - as a consequence of your treatment, but ideally seek advice first.

Discrimination - if there is evidences that your dismissal was a form of discrimination - for instance because of your sex, race, religion, physical disabilities or age - it may be in breach of your basic human rights.

Find an Employment Lawyer  If you believe you have a case worth pursuing, your next steps should be to talk about your concerns to the company personnel officer - or whoever is responsible with employment issues.  If this does not adequately address your concerns, or other circumstances prevent you having a reasonable discussion, then you need to seek an Employment Lawyer.  A good Employment Lawyer should be able to provide you with advice, specific to your personal situation, as to whether you have a case worth pursuing.

Some Employment Lawyers may be prepared to take on your case for a No Win No Fee basis.  Choosing this option may reduce your exposure to possible costs should you lose, but it may reduce the value of a final award if your win - ideally, your erstwhile employers should fund this though.  If your case is not accepted on a No Win No Fee basis, it does not mean that you do not have a case, but it may mean that there is not a good case or strong evidence to support it.

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Wrongful Dismissal Fact Sheet

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