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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49838
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello Ben, Please help me. I have raised a grievance with

Customer Question

Hello Ben,
Please help me.
I have raised a grievance with my current employer. They have set two dates which have had to be cancelled for two reasons (set on a date that was my scheduled day off from work, I was unable to attend, and I requested for another person to handle the case as I did not have confidence that the particular person assigned was impartial enough to deal with my issues, based on treatment that I had received a couple of weeks prior to the date set).
Prior to sending in my grievance I had raised my concerns informally but the set meetings were repeatedly cancelled and I made it clear that I thought I was not being taken seriously.
Now a few months down the line I am more than fed up and do not feel comfortable within my work setting and I need some imperative advice before returning back to work (I am currently off sick) as I feel like I will be “walking into the lion’s den”. To be honest I feel that I need legal intercession in order to be taken seriously.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for? Please note I am in tribunal today so may not be able to respond immediately but will do so ASAP. Thank you
JACUSTOMER-21coxhh3- :

I appreciate that. Thank you.

JACUSTOMER-21coxhh3- :

I have been working for this company for two years

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. As your rights will depend on the exact time you have worked there for can you please let me know your start date with this employer?

JACUSTOMER-21coxhh3- :

The 10th Dec 2012.

Ben Jones :

Thanks. As you have over 2 years’ service with the employer you will be protected against unfair or constructive dismissal. The issue is that you cannot really have any legal interventions at this stage because a lawyer cannot really do much apart from to send a letter to the employer asking for a positive outcome and perhaps threatening legal action in the future. You cannot make a claim against the employer without leaving your employment, whether it is by being dismissed or resigning. As it does not look like your employer is considering dismissal, the only option is constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:

  • Serious breach of contract by the employer; and

  • An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long.

A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).

The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away.

If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.

Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.

An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.

Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

JACUSTOMER-21coxhh3- :


sorry for the delay I have been unwell. Thank you for the advice.

By what you have mentioned previously, I think the constructive dismissal route is the route that I will be going down.

I would like to know what is the likely result of my case / what tends to be the common results of cases similar or worse than mine?

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I have been offline until now so missed your last response. Predicting the likely result would be impossible for many reasons - the low level of detail I have about your case (one needs to conduct a formal case analysis, meeting in person before they can do so), the uncertainty of the tribunal process where the decision will also depend on the personal opinion of the judge as well as how you present your case and the evidence around it. So no one can really say whether you will be able to successfully claim or not, this only become obvious once you progress the claim but before you make a claim you would need to try and settle it with the help of ACAS, this is where they act as a mediator for free and try to agree on a financial settlement without having to go to tribunal so you would actually walk away with a settlement without having to make a formal claim You should contact ACAS to see how to progress this further

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I have been waiting for a response since the 16/01/15. I would like to resign prior to the 5/02/15 as this is when my sick note will expire and I will be forced to return to work to a hostile environment with outstanding unresolved issues.

I need to know what is the proper way to deal with this situation ASAP.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
No response since 16/1/15.