What is Constructive Dismissal?
Constructive dismissal is when your employer has breached your contract of employment to such an extent that you have the right to treat yourself as no longer bound by it. You can then resign with immediate effect and treat your employer as having dismissed you. This is known as claiming Constructive Dismissal.
Your employer’s conduct is sometimes referred to as a “repudiatory breach”. Where this happens, as well as being able to choose whether to affirm or terminate the contract of employment you also have the right to claim damages.
What Constitutes a Repudiatory Breach of Contract?
If your employer acts in a way that seriously damages the relationship of mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee, then this can be a repudiatory breach. Similarly if your employer fails to pay your salary or materially breaches another term of your written contract of employment then that could also be a repudiatory breach.
Have I got a case for Constructive Dismissal?
Recognising that you have a decision to make following a repudiatory breach is vital. Knowing what constitutes a repudiatory breach of your contract is a good first step but it is always worth getting legal advice as proving constructive dismissal cases can be difficult and there may be other more beneficial routes for you to take, such as lodging a grievance and negotiating an exit package before resigning. Employment Law Solicitors can advise you on the best route to take to achieve your objectives and how to then draft the relevant documentation to help you achieve them. It is important that you take advice promptly however as delay in taking action can mean you lose your right to claim constructive dismissal.
Julie Morris is a National Practice Group Leader in Employment for Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
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