UK Employment Law
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Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Hi, I have been there 3 years.
This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:
A common breach by the employer occurs when they, or their employees, have broken the implied term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).
The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away.
If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without undue delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach has been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.
Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months less a day from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.
As an alternative to resigning, the employer may be approached on a without prejudice basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a compromise agreement. Under a compromise agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation.
Just to make a final, yet important point, constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee. Therefore, constructive dismissal should only be used as a last resort and all else fails.
Very useful to know, as I was thinking of a scenario such as you describe e.g. the without prejudice basis, and I want to be careful not to put my foot in it before a meeting arranged with the employers on Monday. I want to lodge a grievance first, but don´t want to put them on their defence because of this (they have had verbal tesimonies from myself and my supervisor, and they are in any case partially to blame).
in the end you have to be proactive at some point and whilst you may be on the backfoot for some of the time, you need to decide how to challenge them and whilst informal discussions can help to an extent, if it becomes evident that thing will not change then you will have to consider the formal grievance route before deciding on your next steps
Thank you Ben! You have made things much clearer for me.
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