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Constructive dismissal and what is meant by the 'last straw' with Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid

23 March 2017

Expert employment solicitor Rebecca Reid explains and answers some questions around the rules of constructive dismissal, including:

  1. What happens if the employee doesn’t resign straight away?
  2. Can a one-off incident be enough to resign for constructive dismissal?
  3. What is meant by the ‘last straw’?

What is Constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is when an employee is forced to leave their job against their will because of the employer’s conduct and/or behaviour. The reasons the employee may leave their job must be serious, for example, they:

  • don’t pay you or suddenly demote you for no reason;
  • force you to accept unreasonable changes to how you work - eg tell you to work night shifts when your contract is only for day work;
  • let other employees harass or bully you.

The employer’s breach of contract may be one serious incident or a series of incidents that are serious when all put together.

The employee should first try and sort any issues out by speaking to their employer to solve the dispute.