We know losing your job can be stressful, especially if you were forced to resign due to your employer’s behaviour. If this has happened to you, you may be able to take a constructive dismissal case to court.
Employment law can be tricky to navigate, but speaking to the experienced advisors at First4lawyers can help you understand your rights and, with the input of our expert solicitors, work out whether you can make a legal challenge.
We can take you through each step of the process of claiming constructive dismissal, and help to take the stress out of the ordeal of losing your job.
What is constructive dismissal?
If you have resigned from your job when you didn’t want to because of your employer’s conduct, particularly if they have breached your contract of employment, you might be able to make a claim for constructive dismissal.
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the law dictates any resignation that occurs in circumstances in which you are entitled to end your contract of employment because of your employer’s conduct can be classed as a dismissal. In such circumstances, and if you have been employed for at least two years continuously, you can claim for constructive dismissal.
You must prove any breach of your contract by your employer was fundamental. However, convincing the civil court or employment tribunal requires a well-constructed argument, and potentially the help of an experienced solicitor.
Some examples of fundamental breaches of contract include:
- Failure to pay wages
- Significantly changing an employee’s job description at short notice
- Excessive demotion or disciplining
- Failure to investigate a grievance or complaint
In more serious cases, such as if your employer has assaulted you, threatened you, sabotaged your work, or made it impossible for you to do your job, you may be able to claim wrongful constructive dismissal, which holds different remedies and penalties to constructive dismissal.
What are the actions following constructive dismissal?
Successful claims for constructive dismissal can result in two positive outcomes for the claimant: re-employment or compensation, or both.
If your case is successful and you wish to return to your job, you can either do so via re-instatement or re-engagement, which means being placed in a job with the same employer but not in the exact same position.
The court will consider whether re-employment is practical, and whether it is fair on all parties. It often depends on the events that occurred after you left your job, so it is wise to discuss these happenings with an experienced legal professional before taking action.
If you wish to claim damages in your constructive dismissal case, an employment tribunal will not be able to award more than £25,000, whereas the civil courts have no such limit.
You can only claim damages that arose naturally from the breach in your contract of employment, and the damages can only act as compensation to you rather than punishment to your employer. The court will also expect you to mitigate your loss by seeking employment as quickly as possible following your dismissal.
I’m considering taking a constructive dismissal case to court – what should I do?
The first step is to file a statement of claim to start an action against your employer. First4lawyers’ team of employment law experts can help you to ensure your written statement contains the appropriate details and essential information that will support your claim of constructive dismissal.
This statement must be filed in a timely manner, so it is important that you act quickly once you recognise that your contract of employment has been breached.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss the details around your case with our advisors. We’ll help you work out what the best next step is for you.