What is Constructive Dismissal?

You have quit your job, and you're feeling angry. We don't blame you! You may feel like you have a case for constructive dismissal or unfair dismissal. But first, let's talk about constructive dismissal and what it means.

Constructive dismissal is when you're forced to leave your job against your will because of your employer's conduct. Unfortunately, this type of termination is notoriously hard to prove, as bad behaviour is subjective. You could find yourself in a situation where you have no evidence of constructive dismissal at all. If these things have happened to you, then you may have been a victim of constructive dismissal.

  • Being bullied or discriminated against by either the employer or colleagues

  • Suddenly being demoted for no reason

  • Changing hours or place of work without agreement or contractual rights

  • Given an excessive workload and with no tools/support to achieve it

  • Not being paid or being paid incorrectly

  • Raising a grievance which the employer refuses to acknowledge or look into

  • Your working environment isn't safe

  • You're frightened to go into work

Forced to leave your job this way is hard. If you identify this has happened to you, you should seek legal advice. If you detect this is happening to you, right now at your workplace, try to gather any evidence and leave your job immediately. Staying on in this working environment may mean your employer will state that you have accepted this kind of treatment and misconduct. Nobody should experience a toxic work environment - but unfortunately, this does happen.

What is Unfair Dismissal?

You have been fired, but it has come as a surprise, this may be a case of unfair dismissal. Fortunately, unfair dismissal is more comfortable to prove and to claim for compared to constructive dismissal legally.

Examples of unfair dismissal are as follows;

  • Your employer doesn't have a good enough reason to fire you

  • Your employer didn't follow the company's formal procedure of dismissal

  • You were dismissed after asking for flexible working

  • You were dismissed after refusing to give up your working rights

  • You were dismissed after joining a trade union

  • You were dismissed because you needed time off to attend jury service

  • You were dismissed because you were on maternity or paternity leave

  • You were dismissed after exposing wrongdoing at work

  • You were forced to retire

  • You were dismissed after resigning and following proper procedures

  • You were dismissed because you are sick

The only time an employer can fire you, right there on the spot, without warning, is if you had a breach of contract or gross misconduct.

What is Wrongful Dismissal?

So what can you do if you feel like you have had a wrongful dismissal? You can gather evidence and try to take your former employer to court. However, this can be a costly and very stressing experience, especially if you're trying to claim for constructive dismissal. You have a higher chance of winning a legal battle if you can prove that you were dismissed unfairly. That being said, some people have won a court case under constructive dismissal. So don't be put off, if you feel like you have a genuine claim and have the evidence to back it up.

In the meantime, read our guide on what to do if you lose your job. You never know, losing or leaving your situation may be the best thing that can happen! If you want, check out our part-time jobs to tide you over.

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