What Constitutes Constructive Dismissal?

Constitutes Constructive Dismissal

Whether you are an employee looking to protect your rights or an employer seeking to prevent wrongful dismissal, knowing what constitutes constructive dismissal is crucial. Constructive dismissal is a claim that an employee has the right to quit their job because of intolerable working conditions that they cannot bear. This type of termination usually involves a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence that is included in every contract of employment. It is most often brought as a result of some form of bullying, harassment, discrimination or other serious offensive behaviour that makes the workplace environment intolerable to the point of causing the employee to resign their position.

It is important to remember that not all situations will qualify as a claim of constructive dismissal, and the onus is on the employee to prove that they were compelled to leave their position due to the intolerable work conditions created by their employer. However, if your employer’s conduct meets certain criteria and you feel that you have been forced to resign because of it, you should consider consulting an experienced employment lawyer to help determine if you can make a claim.

Some examples of unacceptable working conditions that can lead to a constructive dismissal claim include substantial changes to an employee’s work schedule or location, or significant reductions in salary. Suppose, for example, that your manager reduced your salary by half without providing any explanation or justification. This may impact your finances significantly, especially if you have debts and financial obligations that you need to pay, and it could make your job intolerable.

What Constitutes Constructive Dismissal?

You may also have grounds for a claim of constructive dismissal if you report wrongdoing or participate in an investigation and are subjected to retaliation. Whistleblower laws and contract law may also provide you with protection if your employer retaliates against you.

It is essential to keep in mind that the onus is on you as the employee to show that your employer’s actions were a breach of the implied term of trust & confidence and therefore made you want to resign from your job. This is why it is imperative that you document all instances of misconduct and maintain a record of conversations and interactions with your employer. In addition, it is wise to demonstrate that you attempted to resolve your issues and seek resolution through internal channels before deciding to resign. This can strengthen your case in court, especially if you have evidence of these attempts.

The best way to prevent yourself from finding yourself in a situation where you need to claim constructive dismissal is to be proactive and educate yourself on labor law and employment contracts. Educating yourself will empower you to understand the terms of your employment contract and ensure that you have the legal backing you need should you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable or intolerable workplace. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to reporting serious incidents of bullying, harassment or discrimination that may occur in the workplace.

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