No one likes to be dismissed from their employment. You will instantly face a difficult period where funds are limited and you are likely to find it difficult to locate another job. This is especially true if the dismissal looks bad on you.
However, if you believe or even think there is a possibility that you have been unfairly dismissed you should contact a reputable unfair dismissal employment lawyer immediately. You have a very small window, just 21 days from your dismissal, to submit a claim.
It can help to understand the main events that qualify as constructive dismissal.
What Is Constructive Dismissal?
Firstly, it is important to understand that constructive dismissal is a type of dismissal. This doesn’t cover when you are fired for selling company secrets or because you have reached retirement age. These are separate issues.
Constructive dismissal occurs when specific events have led to an employee quitting or resigning in the heat of the moment. In other words, events transpire that effectively force the employee to resign even if they had no intent to do so.
For example, you have a heated argument with your employer and shout you quit as you storm off at the end of the working day on Friday. On Monday you turn up for work to complete your notice period.
The employer must give you the opportunity to reflect on your heat-of-the-moment resignation. If they do not and allow you to quit they are creating your dismissal and this is referred to as constructive dismissal. In short, they aren’t being fair because everyone gets worked up sometimes.
It can also occur when an employee has their hours cut following a claim they have made, such as sexual harassment by the management. The employer will ask the employee to sign the new terms and, if the employee refuses, it is likely to get heated.
If the employer then takes the lack of signature as a resignation and orders the employee off the premises, they have, in effect, fired the employee unfairly.
The employer will be guilty of constructive dismissal.
Proving Constructive Dismissal
The majority of the burden is on the employee to prove they had no intention of quitting. To help you prove this you’ll need to prove the following:
- The resignation was forced or made in the heat of the moment
- It was a reaction to unfair acts by the employer
- The employer’s actions are the main reason the ‘resignation’ occurred
- If appropriate, proof the employer made the working conditions untenable
- There was no other choice but to resign
This may sound like a complicated list but, it is surprisingly easy to prove as this type of dismissal almost always follows a change in circumstances, followed by employment conditions, and ends with a heated argument. It can also be supported by events leading to depression as illustrated by medical records.
As an employee, you should always remember you have options and speak to a professional as soon as the dismissal has occurred.