Constructive dismissal: what you need to know and do.

I will keep this simple. Constructive dismissal is when you feel forced to leave your role against your will because of the behaviour and conduct of your employer.

This is quite different from being dismissed/fired or being laid off/made redundant. In these cases, a legal process is followed fairly.

Constructive dismissal is unfair and underhand. It does not comply with a proper process. It is “unfair’ dismissal.

You should seek legal advice if you have already been dismissed. But you should note that grounds for constructive dismissal cases need to be serious, such as:

  • Pay withheld or sudden demotion / drop in pay for no reason.
  • Forced unreasonable changes to working conditions, such as weekend directed work when you have a Monday-Friday contract or directed to work within school holidays.
  • Fails to protect you from harassment or bullying from others.
  • Fails to ensure your working conditions are safe and in keeping with employment regulation.
  • Deliberately makes your working life / environment intolerable, such as through unfair consistent criticism, unmanageable/unfair workloads, keeping sustained and unreasonable pressure of unfair targets, etc.

Your employer’s breach of contract may be one serious incident or a series of incidents that are collectively serious.

If you feel your employer is treating you unfairly, you should first raise this with your employer to try resolving the dispute.

If nothing changes or you suspect that you may have grounds for a constructive dismissal claim, seek legal advice immediately.

It is worth noting that if you do have a case and you take no action, yet remain in the job, your employer may argue that, by staying, you accepted the conduct or treatment.

Proper legal advice will provide you with clarity on whether you have a case and your best course of action. If you do not have a legal case but feel forced out of your job by the toxic conditions, it is worth considering the wider impact on your life, health and happiness when making your decision to remain in post or seek an alternative role elsewhere.

No one deserves to be miserable because of a toxic work environment.

You are worth so much more than that.

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