Constructive dismissal

Practical advice for constructive dismissal claims

Where an employer breaches your employment contract and you feel you have no option but to leave your job, this is known as constructive unfair dismissal. At Hutchinson Thomas we understand how unpleasant this is and we will support and advise you in making a claim against your employer.

There are fairly short deadlines for commencing proceedings, so it is advisable to take action as soon as possible.

What is constructive dismissal?

If your employer has committed a serious breach of the terms of your employment contract or of employment law or has breached the trust and confidence between you and you feel that you have to resign because of this, this could constitute constructive dismissal.

Your employer’s actions could be a series of small incidents or repeated behaviour which, taken together, are serious enough to be a breach of your rights.

Examples of breaches which could be serious enough to cause constructive dismissal include the following:

  • Not dealing with bullying or harassment in the workplace
  • Changing your duties or hours without your consent
  • Demoting you
  • Reducing your pay or taking away a benefit
  • Unjustified or unreasonable disciplinary matters
  • An unreasonable workload
  • Being forced to work in contravention of health and safety laws
  • Unfounded allegations of poor performance
  • Subjecting you to stress at work without attempting to address this
  • Not making reasonable adjustments to take into account a disability

How to deal with constructive dismissal

It is essential to proceed very carefully if you feel that you are being forced to resign by your employer. There are strict rules about bringing a claim for constructive dismissal and if you make a mistake in the way that you act, you could lose the right to do so.

For example, if you delay in taking action after your employer has committed the breach of contract, an employment tribunal could find that you had accepted the breach. Similarly, if you do not notify your employer that you are resigning because of their actions, you may also lose the right to make a claim. Because of this, your resignation letter should be carefully worded to clearly set out your position and reasons for going. The letter will form part of the evidence against your employer in due course and could therefore be put before an employment tribunal.

Initially, you should follow your employer’s grievance procedure or the Acas Code of Conduct on disciplinary and grievance procedures, as failing to do this could result in a lower amount in compensation.

If you are in a difficult situation, it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as you can, to ensure that you follow the correct procedure and preserve your rights.

Choosing Hutchinson Thomas

Our employment team have an excellent track record of success in acting for clients who have been subjected to constructive dismissal. We offer support and advice throughout and ensure that we are available to discuss progress and answer any questions that you may have.

We often settle claims without the need to attend court or an employment tribunal. We will negotiate strongly with your employer or their legal representatives to obtain a fair settlement for you. If your case does proceed to litigation, you can be sure of robust representation.

Contact us

Hutchinson Thomas is the first law firm in Wales to be awarded the Law Society Mark of Excellence. The firm and many of our lawyers are recognised year on year in the Legal 500 publication as leading individuals in their field. 

If you would like to speak to one of our expert employment solicitors about bringing a claim for constructive dismissal, ring us on the following numbers or fill in our contact form.