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This month we touch on constructive dismissal – a phrase which is often bandied about, but what does it actually mean? Please read on to find out more.
The term “constructive dismissal” is one which you may come across from time to time. Sometimes a disgruntled employee may toss it out there to try to cause a reaction. But what exactly does it mean?
Put simply, constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns in reaction to something pretty terrible that their employer (or someone acting on behalf of their employer) has done. The employer’s actions must amount to a fundamental breach of contract in order for constructive dismissal to apply. This could include cutting someone’s pay, demoting them, severely berating them in front of customers or colleagues, bullying and harassment, etc. So it must be pretty serious stuff.
The employee must be seen to resign in response to this breach, however. So they can’t carry on working, then decide to resign several weeks after the incident and expect to rely on the incident to claim they have been constructively dismissed.
Even if there has been a constructive dismissal, it does not always follow that it is unfair dismissal. An employee needs two years’ service to be able to claim unfair dismissal (constructive or otherwise), and there are rare cases where constructive dismissal is made out but is found to be fair in all the circumstances. That is what happened in the case of Hall v Lodge – Ms Hall had been promoted but it soon become evident that she wasn’t able to do the new job. She was demoted quickly back to her original job at another shop. She resigned and claimed unfair constructive dismissal. The finding was that she had been constructively dismissed but that the employer had acted reasonably in the manner in which they had handled this situation; her dismissal was found to be fair and was by reason of her capability.
National Minimum and Living Wage Rates
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:
£7.83 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
£7.38 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24
£5.90 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
£4.20 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
£3.70 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*
*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.