UK Employment Solicitors -

Constructive Dismissal Solicitors - Employment Compensation Claims Advice

Constructive dismissal is an involuntary resignation by an employee, which is caused by the undesirable behaviour of a fellow worker or workers or the employer. Constructive dismissal is a specific subcategory of unfair dismissal within UK employment law. Compensation claims in this category are amongst the most complex of all employment law claims and you will need help from a constructive dismissal solicitor who truly understands this complicated area of employment law. A specialist lawyer has the knowledge and experience necessary to provide effective representation in any dispute related to employment. If you believe you have a legal case, call our helpline for a free, no obligation consultation.

What Is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive dismissal involves a situation where an employees working environment is made so unpleasant and/or oppressive that the employee is essentially forced to resign. Employees have a right to a working environment that is free from abusive treatment and unreasonable stress. When an employee resigns because the workplace has become unbearable, that employee is not considered to have resigned of their own volition. Rather, it is deemed as a constructive dismissal and it can give rise to a compensation claim in the Employment Tribunal.

A variety of situations can lead to a claim of constructive dismissal, making the employee eligible to receive compensation. Below is a non-inclusive list of some of the scenarios which constitute constructive dismissal :

  • bullying in the workplace
  • criminal work practices
  • unfair or abusive treatment
  • unbearable working conditions
  • racial discrimination, harassment or victimisation
  • sexual discrimination, harassment or victimisation
  • prejudicial treatment related to age, pregnancy, religion or sexual orientation

Unacceptable Behaviour

If your resignation was caused by the unacceptable behaviour of others in your workplace, you may have a claim for compensation for damages from your employer. The Employment Tribunal has discretion to resolve workplace disputes and to order just compensation. Although it is up to the Employment Tribunal to decide if the behaviour was unacceptable, our constructive dismissal solicitors have been involved in many of these cases over the years and can advise you well in advance on the likely outcome of your claim.

When offensive behaviour occurs, if it is a fellow worker ask them, in a non-threatening way to immediately stop the practices, in the presence of their superior. When it is a superior or employer, ask them to stop. If, in either case the intolerable conditions continue, make a formal complaint to a Union Representative or other competent authority. If in either case, direct confrontation could in your opinion lead to physical assault, go directly to an impartial authority.

Whatever the case, immediately take detailed notes of the incidents and get the advice of an employment law solicitor, as soon as possible.

Common Claims

Managers, superiors or employers who significantly revise the employee’s job description are most often found at fault for creating the conditions leading to a constructive dismissal claim. In many cases the employee in put in the position of trying to complete unfamiliar tasks that were not covered by the initial contract of employment. Employers frequently revise the job description in the deliberate hope of making an employee become frustrated with their job causing them to resign.

In those circumstances an employee should file a grievance with his employer or trade union in order to give the employer an opportunity to correct the errant situation failing which the employee should consider getting advice from a constructive dismissal solicitor, who will most likely suggest the employer resign immediately prior to making an immediate application to the Employment Tribunal claiming compensation for unfair dismissal. Continuing to work under undesirable conditions gives the impression of acquiescence and acceptance and could damage a compensation claim.

Once is Enough

Employers are required to provide their employees with a workplace that is free from discrimination, harassment and other incidents of misconduct or abuse. Most cases of constructive dismissal that come before the Employment Tribunal are based on a series of abuse and subsequent complaints by the employee to management; however, depending on the severity of the misconduct, one incident may be enough to warrant an employee’s resignation based on the feeling of an unsafe workplace where they have been victimised. In some cases, co-workers or management carry out acts against employees to force their resignation. How can an employee be efficient under these conditions? Call our helpline for free advice today.

Banter & Only Joking

Often, co-workers use indirect comments in the presence of the employees that they are trying to humiliate, to amuse themselves or other employees. These subtle attempts are often reported to management but the offender claims he/she was “only joking” or they may say, “I wasn’t talking about him or her.” This type of behaviour should not be tolerated by management, if it is they are not providing a workplace conducive to efficient production. If this goes unchecked, an employee may have a claim for constructive dismissal, if he or she resigns.

Direct and Indirect Behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour comes in two forms; both may be treated as grounds for a constructive dismissal claim. This unacceptable behaviour may be racial, sexual, religious or age related favouritism or bigotry. Direct Behaviour includes overt insulting remarks or comments, bullying or any sort of racial or sexual discrimination directed at an individual. Indirect behaviour is based on similar discriminatory or offensive behaviour with the difference being that such statements are indirect or discreet or subtle but are nevertheless offensive. Indirect discrimination or bias normally takes the form of policies or directives that are intended to diminish a group's standing or respect.

Changes to Contract of Employment

An employer may try to bypass paying compensation due to an employee for redundancy or unfair dismissal, by intentionally forcing the employee to resign. The employer might change the job description or make changes to your work conditions to force your resignation. Some changes may be warranted or justifiable, but periodically these changes are an attempt to create enough stress for you that you make the decision to resign. If you think that you are a victim of this type coercion, take immediate action and call our helpline. If you wait, it may be taken as your approval of the changes.

Collecting Evidence

The ultimate success of your claim will depend in large part on the strength of the evidence you are able to provide. If you believe you are being harassed or victimised in the workplace, keep careful notes of the abusive incidents. If you have any physical evidence, such as emails or memos, you should retain them. Also, take note of any potential witnesses to the abusive incidents.

Application Grounds

Action can be taken for a constructive dismissal compensation claim in the Employment Tribunal if the employer in Sheffield has taken or failed to resolve any of the following actions :-

  • unilateral amendments to the contract of employment
  • reduction in pay or changes to the salary structure
  • changes in employment benefits
  • changes to working conditions or environment
  • loss or detrimental change of status
  • abusive behaviour
  • aggressive behaviour
  • threatening behaviour
  • bullying
  • humiliation
  • racial harassment
  • sexual harassment
  • race discrimination
  • sex discrimination
  • false, malicious or unsupported accusations
  • unreasonable or excessive discipline
  • victimisation

Constructive Dismissal Solicitors

Proving constructive dismissal is not always easy and prior to resigning, except in very serious circumstances, it is advisable to take urgent legal advice before taking any action. Anyone who is in this situation is advised to keep a written diary of any incidents of abuse which may fall into any of the categories outlined above as that diary may be useful contemporaneous evidence of the situation resulting in any subsequent resignation and could be referred to by the Employment Tribunal investigating the issues at a later date. Records of relevant events make legal action easier and quicker by helping prove the unacceptable conditions which forced the resignation.

In this situation, a constructive dismissal solicitor will begin negotiations with your employer for compensation and if those negotiations are fruitless, they will make application to the Employment Tribunal on your behalf for dispute resolution which can include financial compensation or reinstatement.