What is constructive unfair dismissal?


Before an employee can bring a claim for constructive unfair dismissal they must have followed the three-step statutory grievance procedure with their employer. This can be summarised as follows.

Firstly, the employee must write to his employer setting out his grievance. This is commonly known as a 'grievance letter'.

Secondly, the employer must set up a meeting with the employee to discuss their grievance. After the meeting, the employer must make a decision on the employee's grievance and notify the employee of their right to appeal this decision.

And, finally, if the employee is not happy with the decision then they can appeal it. The employer must hold a further meeting to hear the appeal.

In addition to following this three-stage procedure, the employee must have been working for one year before bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal. However, this time limit is due to be extended. If you bring a claim after 6 April 2012, you must have been with your employer for two years.

It is not enough for an employee to prove that they have been constructively dismissed. To be successful in a constructive unfair dismissal claim they must also prove that the dismissal was unfair. There are some cases where a dismissal is automatically unfair, for example an employee is dismissed due to their gender. In other cases, proving unfairness may be difficult and an employer may be able to rely on one of the potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee. There are six potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee. These include dismissing an employee due to their conduct, inability to do their job and due to redundancy.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on making or defending a constructive unfair dismissal claim, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist Employment Solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local Employment Solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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