Breach of contract and constructive dismissal

If your employer has changed your employment contract without your consent or is breaching the terms of your contract, we can help.

Gez Gibbs, Brentwood
Gez Gibbs, dispute resolution and litigation specialist in Brentwood

Constructive dismissal - breach of contract

Constructive dismissal claims are usually very hard fought and tend to be very fact-specific and difficult claims to win. Given that you have to resign to bring such a claim, you would be putting yourself out of work, so a lot of care needs to be taken about whether this is the right decision for you. If you think you may have a case for constructive dismissal, it's important to get legal advice as soon as possible and not to delay. If there’s a long time between the breach happening and you resigning, your employer may try to claim that you’ve waived your rights - waiting a long time can look like acceptance.

Can I claim for constructive dismissal if I resign?

To claim for constructive dismissal you must resign first and must do so promptly in connection with the breach. To pursue a claim for constructive dismissal you need to have a serious reason to resign. You may be complaining about a breach of an express term of your written contract, or of implied terms such as “trust and confidence”. There are a range of actions which may, depending on the circumstances, entitle an employee to pursue a constructive dismissal claim including:

  • reducing your pay 
  • demoting you
  • changing the type of work you do
  • bullying or harassing you
  • putting you through disciplinary proceedings which are unreasonable or not justified
  • not protecting you at work in terms of health and safety.

Our employment law services

Of course resigning from your job is often financially and emotionally daunting, so talk to an employment law specialist before you take any big steps. An employment lawyer can:

  • help you plan your next steps
  • plan the timings of each stage
  • advise whether you can continue working for your employer following the breach and before you take the step of resigning.

Negotiating expertise 

Our experienced employment law specialists have handled multiple cases and we have numerous negotiation techniques and tactics up our sleeves. We’re adept in managing contractual disputes and we’ll be by your side, working to get you the best possible outcome. We can also advise you on other potential claims you may have, for instance if you feel you have been forced to leave because you are a whistleblower, or if your employer has acted in a discriminatory way towards you. 

We're here to help

If you’re considering making a claim for constructive dismissal, come and talk to us about how we can help. Give us a call for a confidential chat.

Our specialist lawyers are based in:

  • Cambridgeshire: Cambridge
  • Essex: Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Saffron Walden
  • Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

but we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our specialist employment solicitors on 0808 231 1320

or fill out our enquiry form and a solicitor will get in touch.

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Constructive dismissal FAQs

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is where an employee can treat themselves as having been dismissed because of a fundamental breach of contract by the employer. You may be able to make a claim for one serious breach of your contract, for example, if your employer refuses to pay you without good reason. Alternatively, you may have left your job after the last straw in a series of smaller breaches, which become serious when viewed collectively.

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