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Constructive dismissal
April 11, 2014


What is constructive dismissal?

As employment law solicitors in Bromley, we get approached about this type of claim and therefore we thought it helpful to explain and “debunk” some myths

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns in response to their employer's conduct in breach of an important term of their employment contract. This can be a breach of an express or an implied term. When an employer has breached an important term of the employment contract, the employee is entitled to treat himself as having been dismissed. The employer's conduct is often referred to as a "repudiatory breach".

When will a claim for constructive dismissal succeed?

For a constructive dismissal claim to succeed, the employee must show that:

  • the employer was in breached an important term of the employment contract
  • he resigned in response to that breach
  • he did not delay too long in resigning in response to the breach. If the employee continues working for any length of time without leaving, he is likely to lose the right to treat the contract as breached and will be regarded as having chosen to continue with the contract.

The breach may not be just one incident; sometimes it is a series of incidents or a pattern of behaviour which, taken as a whole, amounts to repudiatory conduct.

Compensation for constructive dismissal

If the tribunal agrees that the employee was constructively dismissed, it will assess the loss that has been suffered. The employee may receive compensation for:

  • breach of contract
  • unfair dismissal

Mitigation of loss

An employee must mitigate his or her loss (for example, by looking for another job). This obligation starts from the last day of employment. An employment tribunal may reduce the compensation if it finds that the employee did not take reasonable steps to find another job.

Time limit for constructive dismissal claims

A claim for constructive dismissal needs to be lodged at an employment tribunal within three months of the date of the termination of employment.

Don’t forget that Mandatory Conciliation now applies to all tribunal claims – see our article here

Please contact Jennifer White, employment law solicitor, at our offices in Bromley on 020 8313 1300 or jennifer.white@marsons.co.uk for further advice.

The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.