Constructive dismissal cases


Constructive dismissal cases can be extremely complicated. To win a constructive dismissal case you will have to show that the conduct of your employer was so bad that you were forced to leave.

A general view, and a view that is adopted by employment tribunals, is that a worker should only consider resigning from their post as a last resort. Otherwise, a resignation might not be considered constructive dismissal.

What to do if you are unhappy at work

If you have any problems with your employer then you should try to resolve them through the organisation's grievance procedure. You are required by law to raise a grievance with your employer before resigning and attempting to bring a constructive dismissal claim.


If you cannot resolve your problems with your employer through the organisation's grievance procedure then you should consider mediation. Your constructive dismissal case is likely to be stronger if you can show the tribunal that you have tried to resolve your dispute before resigning. Attempting to resolve you problem through mediation will help you to show this.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves you and your employer meeting with an impartial advisor ('a mediator') who will try to help you to resolve your dispute. The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers mediation in employment disputes. For claims of constructive dismissal, Acas can mediate before or after resignation.

If mediation does not work, you should consider resigning. You may have a constructive dismissal case but it would be prudent to seek legal advice before resigning. You should check with a solicitor to see if you may have a case for unfair dismissal as well.

Making a claim for compensation

Compensation for constructive dismissal is made up of three types of compensation:

  • The basic award
  • The compensatory award
  • The additional award

The basic award

The basic award compensates the employee for loss of job security. The amount of the award depends on the employee's:

  • Age and their length of service
  • The amount of a week's pay

The compensatory award

The compensatory award is based on the tribunal's assessment of the employee's loss of earnings between the dismissal and the tribunal hearing, and the likely future loss of earnings, loss of pension rights etc.

The additional award

The tribunal may make an additional award on top of the basic and compensatory awards if it orders re-employment of the employee but the employer does not comply.

Usually, you make a claim at an employment tribunal. The civil courts may be used sometimes. Or, an employment solicitor could negotiate a settlement (compromise agreement) for you. If you think you might have a claim for constructive dismissal, you should speak to an employment solicitor. If you have a case, a no-win, no-fee solicitor may agree to take your claim on under a no-win, no-fee arrangement.

Think you know all there is to know about unfair dismissal? Take our quiz. And if you want to look at our easy-to-use guide on different types of dismissals and the different procedures, go to our dismissal procedure flow chart page.

Are you feeling forced to resign from your job due to the treatment of your employers? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist employment lawyer to help you assess your work situation and bring a claim for constructive dismissal if you have a case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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