Constructive Dismissal

Thrive can help you with a ‘constructive dismissal’ claim when you have been forced to resign because of the actions of your employer or colleagues which amounts to a fundamental breach of contract.

As an employee, where you feel you have been forced to leave by the breach by an employer, you are entitled to treat yourself as having been ‘dismissed’.

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Who can claim?

In order to proceed with this type of claim you must be an employee and you must have continuously worked for your employer for at least 2 years.

What is a fundamental breach of contract?

This could be (for example) refusing to provide you with work or pay, or another breach of a term of your contract of employment.

It can also cover breaches of the ‘implied term’ of trust and confidence.

An employer simply acting unfairly or unreasonably will not be enough to justify a constructive dismissal claim.

Constructive dismissal claims can be difficult therefore, if you haven’t already, Thrive would highly recommend you seek legal advice from us before making the decision to resign. It is important that your letter of resignation is set out in the right way, clearly stating the reasons and highlighting the breaches upon which you rely, in order for you to bring a claim.

Thrive can also help you if you believe you may have been constructively dismissed and have already resigned.

Examples of situations where an employee could have a constructive claim;

  • If you are demoted for no good reason.
  • If you are being harassed or discriminated against by either the employer or colleagues.
  • If your employer changes your hours or place of work without agreement and without the contractual right to do so.
  • If an employer refuses to deal with your grievance or mismanages a grievance to the point where it is an completely ineffective process.
  • If you are being given an excessive workload continuously, with no support.
  • If you are consistently being paid incorrectly or failure to pay.

Constructive v Unfair Dismissal

In practical terms constructive dismissal is a resignation which is treated as a dismissal in law due to the employer’s repudiatory conduct. The conduct by the employer must be enough to amount to a breach of contract.

On the other hand, unfair dismissal is when your employer terminates your employment and you consider this to be unfair as they did not follow a fair process, or the decision falls outside the band of reasonable responses available to that employer, or they didn’t have a fair reason to do so.


Where an employee threatens to sue you for constructive dismissal or you receive a resignation which you think could result in a claim, please contact us for a free consultation.

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