When the employment relationship breaks down to such an extent that the employee believes his/her contract of employment to have been so fundamentally breached as to amount to its termination, an employee may leave their employment and may present a claim for “constructive dismissal”.
In this situation, the employer has not explicitly dismissed the employee and the onus is on the employee at the outset to prove that the behaviour of the employer was objectively so unreasonable as to give rise to a situation where his/her employment was effectively terminated and he/she was forced to leave.
The conduct of the employer and of the employee in the period preceding the departure of the employee will be scrutinised to assess whether the parties acted reasonably towards each other.
If the employer has a grievance procedure, and it is advisable to do so, then the employee must show that he/she followed that procedure and in so doing notified the employer of the problem(s) and afforded the employer an opportunity to rectify those issues, where appropriate.
We are often consulted by, and advise, employees who are in difficult working situations and who have either left their employment or are contemplating so doing.
We also frequently advise employers on management of difficult employment situations, dealing appropriately with grievances and management of crises in industrial or professional relationships.
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