Oakwood Solicitors
  • « Back
  • « Back
  • « Back


Need help with
employment proceedings?

  • Caring and client-focused.
  • Initial consultation available.
  • In-house team of employment experts.

The Experts in Employment Law matters

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd has a dedicated team of leading Employment Law solicitors and support staff, helping clients nationwide. We are able to offer expert advice on all potential claims you may have against you, in both Employment Tribunals and the Civil Courts.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive unfair dismissal (more commonly referred to constructive dismissal) occurs when an employee is forced to resign from their position due to their employer committing a serious breach of contract (often referred to a repudiatory breach of contract).

This needs to not be a minor breach (such as a small underpayment of salary), but something so serious and fundamental that it goes to the heart of the employer/employee relationship and something so serious that it has undermined the employer/employee relationship to a point where the employee feels they have no option but to resign.

There is no actual dismissal from the employer’s part in relation to a constructive dismissal claim, but the employee is entitled to treat themselves as being dismissed for the purposes of Employment Law.

worker office

What grounds can lead to constructive dismissal?

There are a number of potential grounds that may result in a constructive dismissal claim being filed against an employer. These grounds include:

  • Forcing the employee to work in hazardous conditions.
  • Turning a blind eye to discrimination or harassment by colleagues.
  • The ‘final straw’ doctrine. This is whereby an employee can cite that a number of smaller, less serious events, when looked as a campaign of treatment and as a whole, can be said to be the final straw resulting in an employee classing the final incident as the point at which they believe they have been constructively dismissed.

In any constructive dismissal case, the breach must be deemed serious enough by an Employment Tribunal to warrant resignation.

The employee must also raise their claim and resign relatively quickly as a result of the incident that took place however, there is no fixed time period set in legislation or case law by which an employee is required to resign. That being said, depending on the circumstances, it could be necessary for an employee to resign almost immediately, i.e. one week from the fundamental breach of contract.

If you think one of your employees might have a constructive dismissal claim, or you are worried due to comments or communications from an employee, we strongly suggest you get in touch with Oakwood Solicitors Ltd immediately. Our specialist Employment Law team will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and to assist you avoid a larger problem such as an Employment Tribunal claim.

Constructive dismissal is very much a claim whereby some legal advice at the outset of a potential situation, can save a business colossal time and money in the future.

worker guy small

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an employee need to successfully establish for a constructive dismissal claim?

There are three elements required which are set out as follows:

  • A repudiatory breach of an express or implied term of the employee’s contract of employment. It must be serious enough to warrant resignation.
  • The employee should resign as a result of that breach (and should detail the breach in their resignation letter so it is clear to the employer why they are resigning).
  • The employee should not delay in resigning otherwise they may be deemed to have accepted the breach of contract, if too long passes before they resign. This is a common flaw in constructive dismissal claims we see – employees waiting too long to trigger their resignation.

What is the difference between 'express' and 'implied' terms?

An express term is expressly detailed in the employee’s contract of employment. For example, the employee’s salary. If the employee’s salary is decreased without permission this is a breach of contract (the amount of the deduction, the reason why and the notice given to the employee would all impact here as to whether the breach as actually a repudiatory one).

An implied term is not written down in the contract but exists through common practice and time. The main implied term in contracts of employment is the implied term of “mutual trust and confidence”. This effectively means that both parties will not do anything that would impact the trust and confidence between the parties. This implied term is interrupted fairly widely and is frequently the basis for a constructive dismissal claim, if the employee does not have an express term that can be used.

Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

You will have a dedicated advisor who will see your claim through from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have.

Your case handler will also continue to provide regular updates until the conclusion of your claim, ensuring the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.

Great service!

Very easy to get in touch with and get things started, Very clear when explaining the situation and information you need. All-round good service.

- Client

Very helpful.

From start to finish they were very helpful. Always responded to emails very quickly. Would recommend to my friends and family.

- Client

Ian Abel
Ian Abel - Solicitors and Head of Department
Ian Abel is a solicitor and qualified in February 2009. He specialises in and deals exclusively with Employment Law. Ian has a unique skillset that allows him to provide commercial and pragmatic advice, primarily focusing on the impact this has on the day to day operations of a business. His particular specialisms include large scale restructuring exercises and the Employment Law-related elements of TUPE associated with acquisitions and mergers.

Get in touch

* Mandatory Fields

Get in touch

*Required fields


This website uses cookies. You can read more information about why we do this, and what they are used for here.

Accept Decline