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Case Report - Constructive Unfair Dismissal - The correct test

View profile for Chris Dobbs
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Wright v North Ayrshire Council

In the above case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has said it was sufficient that the behaviour of the employer only “played a part” in the employee’s decision to resign and was not necessarily the principal reason.

The Claimant had raised three grievances against the Council which had not been properly answered. However, the Employment Tribunal dismissed her claim as they found that the Claimant’s caring responsibilities for her partner, who had just suffered a stroke, was the “effective cause” of her resignation.”

The EAT said they were wrong and that, just because there were other reasons that caused the Claimant to resign, the Council’s failure to deal with the grievances properly played a part. Rather than dismissing the claim, the Tribunal should have taken the other reasons into account when deciding how much compensation should be awarded.

In Practice

Kate FrettenEmployment Partner, says “This case appears to make it easier in some cases for a Claimant to succeed with a constructive unfair dismissal claim. It was previously commonly understood that an employer’s breach of an employee’s contract had to be the principal reason why the employee resigned.”

“The EAT has now said this is not the case and that it only has to play a part in the decision-making process of the employee to resign. Employers will therefore find it harder to argue in the future that there are other reasons for an employee resignation.”

At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting to chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and Kate or Paul will be happy to discuss it with you.