Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal is when you are forced to leave your job because of your employer’s conduct.

The reasons you leave your job must be serious. For example, your employer:

  • fails to pay you or suddenly demotes you for no reason
  • forces you to accept unreasonable changes to how you work - eg telling you to work night shifts when your contract is only for day work
  • lets other employees harass or bully you

Examples of constructive dismissal

There is no definitive list of what sort of behaviour might amount to a breach of contract giving rise to a constructive dismissal. Each case is different, but here are a few examples:

  • Harassment or bullying
  • Undermining the employee
  • Overloading employees with work or setting unreasonable deadlines
  • Carrying out disciplinary proceedings unfairly
  • Ignoring or dismissing grievances without proper consideration
  • Treating staff inconsistently or unfairly
  • Discriminating or victimising

Giving up your job

Giving up your job can be difficult decision and not one that should be taken lightly. We recognise that jobs are more than just about money. The job you do gives you purpose, identity, social standing. The end of an employment relationship brings financial uncertainty but it can also bring loss of confidence and self-worth, especially when you have been treated unfairly.

On the one hand, your employer’s behaviour must be sufficiently serious to justify leaving your job. In the first instance, you should try to resolve any issues by speaking to your employer.

On the other hand, if matters are so bad that you cannot stay any longer, you should leave your job immediately. Otherwise, your employer may argue that, by staying, you accepted their conduct or treatment.

We always recommend talking through a problem with one of our specialist advisors before making the decision to resign. If you do bring a claim, our specialist team of employment solicitors are experts in getting you the compensation you deserve. When you want recompense for losing your job, you want the best advocates fighting your corner.

Paying for a solicitor

The general rule in an employment tribunal is that each side pays their own legal fees regardless of whether they win or lose. There are exceptions but cost orders are rare.

If you are worried about legal fees then contact a member of our employment law team, complete our online enquiry form or contact our client care team and we can discuss your options with you. You may already have insurance cover for legal costs. Legal expenses insurance is often tagged on to home insurance.

Claims assessment

If you have been dismissed, contact us so that that we can talk things through with you and assess the strength of your case.

For some important information about unfair dismissal, read our Unfair Dismissal FAQ here