Constructive dismissal


Constructive dismissal claims are based on the implied term in a employment contract that the parties to a contract will not , without reasonable and proper cause, conduct themselves in a manner calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust which should exist between employer and employee.

To have a claim the conduct of the employer must be such as to destroy or seriously damage the relationship, and there must have been no reasonable and proper cause for the employer’s conduct.

For example ,an employer can rightly use a protracted disciplinary procedure to discipline a worker if the worker’s conduct is such as to justify this, but not where there is no evidence of misconduct and the employer is merely trying to “squeeze” him out.

Trust and confidence is fundamental to the employment relationship and any breach of it is likely to be repudiatory of the contract.

An example would be an employer persistantly trying to change an employee’s terms and not taking no for an answer, in which case the employee could leave and claim he has been dismissed.

Often there is a series of actions by the employer , culminating in a “final straw” ,which breach causes the employee to leave , relying on the whole chain of the employer’s actions in his claim for constructive dismissal.

However, constructive dismissal is very difficult to prove , so it would never be wise to leave employment in the hope of relying on a claim.

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