The term 'constructive dismissal' is legal jargon for the situation that arises when an employee is put under so much pressure at work that the employee believes that there is no alternative other than to resign. This forced resignation may be caused by any number of reasons including unacceptable changes to the contract of employment, dangerous working conditions, an abusive employer, offensive co-workers or any other matter that is in breach of either a specific written contract of employment or is in breach of acceptable standards of employment. This situation is in effect a form of unfair dismissal and the same legal remedies apply. If you are contemplating handing in your notice because of unacceptable working conditions we would strongly advise you to take legal advice from a constructive dismissal solicitor before resigning in order to ensure if you do resign that any claim made to the Employment Tribunal based on constructive dismissal has a reasonable chance of success.
Our constructive dismissal solicitors deal with employment compensation claims using the no win no fee* scheme. Applications to the Employment Tribunal are risk free and you will only be charged a legal fee based on a percentage of the award if you win your case. If you would like free advice from an employment solicitor , without any further obligation, on constructive dismissal compensation claims before the Employment tribunal just call the helpline or email our offices. Our specialist employment law solicitors are experts - they only deal with employment compensation claims - they do nothing else.
Whilst in most cases a constructive dismissal is the result of a protracted course of behaviour by an employer or a series of unacceptable events there are circumstances where just one serious incident is enough to justify instant resignation. Most of the cases that are successful before the Employment Tribunal are the result of repeated actions that an employer has failed to deal with despite multiple warnings by the employee. If the employee then hands in notice, the employer cannot complain that they were taken by surprise and that they would have acted given adequate notice of the unacceptable course of action that has unfolded. This is perhaps the most important reason why it is useful to discuss matters with a constructive dismissal solicitor prior to resigning. It may be that a complaint will be ignored thereby ensuring success in the event that the application is heard by the Employment Tribunal. It is worth mentioning that an employer is responsible for the behaviour of other employees and in the event of a serious complaint the employer should take whatever action is necessary to protect the aggrieved employee including termination of employment of the offending employee if necessary.
There are a number of ways in which an employer's behaviour may be unacceptable varying from outright and 'direct' offense to a more subtle 'indirect' approach. Direct offensive behaviour can include bullying, sexual innuendo, racial bias etc. Employers are often gratuitously offensive on a sexual or racial basis and try to laugh it off as 'only joking' - wrong! This approach as a defence to offensive behaviour will not wash with the tribunal. Indirect offensive behaviour may include discriminatory or offensive language about a class or group of people to which the complainant belongs without direct reference to the complainant. This employment topic is extremely wide and it is impossible to outline all of the possible scenarios, suffice to say that a constructive dismissal solicitor will listen to your complaints and will advise on whether or not you have a viable legal case and if you have not already resigned whether you should do so. Our solicitors do not charge for employment advice which is given freely and without any further obligation.
One major area of constructive dismissal relates to changes of job description which may not accord with what was agreed at the commencement of the employment either verbally or contained in a contract of employment. An employer cannot just unilaterally change your job description, terms of employment or working conditions. Employers often follow this course of action in the hope and belief that an employee will resign and move on which is often cheaper than paying redundancy money provided that the employee does not take action for unlawful termination of employment. Whilst some situations may be a genuine alternative to redundancy there are many that are the result of sharp practice by employers. If you find yourself in this position do not hesitate to call the helpline for no cost advice without further obligation.