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Your questions answered: What is constructive dismissal?

#yourquestionsanswered Constructive dismissal is something we get asked about frequently. so lets break it down.

What is constructive dismissal

In simple terms, constructive dismissal occurs when an employer's actions or behavior towards an employee are so bad that the employee feels they have no other choice but to quit. Basically, it could be anything unreasonable that causes the situation to become untenable for them.

What does this look like?

This can happen when the employer breaks the rules of the employment contract, behaves in a really bad way, or makes the workplace unbearable for the employee.

Some examples of behavior that could lead to constructive dismissal are not paying employees their wages, asking them to work in dangerous conditions, or harassing or discriminating against them.

Or, failing to act reasonably when they raise a concern, for instance, if they say that they are being bullied by another co-worker.

But I didn't tell them to quit!

If an employee can show that their employer's behavior was a major factor in their decision to quit, and that quitting was the only option they had, then they may be able to make a case.

What if I didn't know?

In general, the onus is on the employee to raise their concerns where possible before resigning, but if they don't do this is won't necessarily prevent them from successfully claiming that they have been constructively dismissed.

So what should I do to prevent this?

If an employee tells you that the situation is becoming untenable or indicates that it will be untenable if you don't address their concerns, we'd recommend looking into this to see if you can rescue the employment relationship. Sometimes this may not be possible of course, but ignoring their issues will not make things go away and risks making some grievances worse.

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