Constructive dismissal

Delay in resigning led to failure of constructive dismissal claim

Delaying for six weeks and accepting sick pay before finally resigning meant that an employee lost her chance to claim constructive dismissal because the delay was of such a length that she had affirmed her contract (i.e. effectively accepted her employer’s breach of contract).
Fereday v South Staffordshire NHS Primary Care Trust
 

Constructive dismissal cannot be 'cured'

The Court of Appeal held that the 'range of reasonable responses' test (well known in unfair dismissal law) has no relevance when deciding whether or not an employer has fundamentally breached an employment contract (such as to support a constructive dismissal claim). It also held that an employer cannot 'cure' a fundamental breach while the employee is considering whether to treat it as a dismissal.

Buckland v Bournemouth University
 

Punishment or management instruction?

The EAT has held that the monitoring of an employee who was disciplined for not following his employer’s procedures was a legitimate management instruction and not a disciplinary sanction – and as such did not give the employee the right to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

NSPCC v Dear
 

Change in place of work led to unfair constructive dismissal

N’s contract allowed her to work from home for 4 hours a week. The rest of the time she was office based. There had been various changes to her contract, all agreed by both parties, but none involved any changes to her place of work or her ability to work from home.

Norris v Great Dawley Parish Council
 

Suspension breached implied term of trust and confidence

Mrs A had worked, with an unblemished record, as a nurse in a care home for 32 years. She was suspended following two serious allegations of abuse. Before the investigation was concluded, she resigned, stating that she was ‘retiring’ (adding that her husband was terminally ill and that she wanted to spend more time with him).

Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust v Atkinson
 

Refusal to vary contractual grievance procedure

B resigned from her post with GMB and claimed constructive dismissal. GMB procedures required her to attempt to resolve her grievances by meeting with her manager. A tribunal agreed with her that as the manager was the perceived source of her problems, GMB's refusal to vary the contractual grievance procedure amounted to breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.

GMB Trade Union v Brown
 


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