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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50165
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have worked for a company for nearly 11 years, for the

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I have worked for a company for nearly 11 years, for the last two years or so conditions have worsened and there has been little or no support for me and my small team. There have recently been a couple of issues and I raised a grievance with work. This then escalated reaching a head when I handed in my pass and work phone and left the building. HR contacted me to say that I should be signed off due to stress. I did exactly that. I have one week left signed off with work related stress and don't know whether to raise further grievances in order to address the various issues, or to just hand in my notice. I think that they are advertising my role, albeit under a different job title. It also doesn't help that some people in the office are saying that I have left and they're not replacing me. I am confused, and cannot see a way of going back into the office even to work my three months notice, were I to resign. I feel trapped and unable to move forward down either path. I need to know what options I may have legally.
Assistant: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: They tried to change my working conditions without performing any checks to do with my diagnosis of silent migraine, which are affected by screen position, noise and peripheral vision. I complained, but there are other issues which have been building. I don't think I have anything to lose by asking them for acknowledgement, apology and assurances. If I get those I would be willing to stay, but I cannot see them doing that or indeed anything positive from the company if they don't agree.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

I am sorry to hear of the experiencing you have been having. Based on what you have described, please can you tell me what the ideal outcome will be so that I can advise you of y our options? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know really. I don't feel like I could work there again. They have let me know too many times and now the office gossips are all over this and will make it very difficult. I am due back on the 4th October and will be handing in my three months notice. I can't see the company changing and I have a difficult manager who won't care less. Feel horrible leaving like this after so many years, but enough is enough and I am worth more. I have no issue with the job itself, just line management and the company

Thank you. This could potentially amount to 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.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have after you have resigned, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, my response should be visible on this page. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** one week left to work things out. I have one grievance lodged at work, but will list the others this week and submit then, they can then form the basis of negotiations about either a return to work or me resigning. I have done a lot of thinking over the last three weeks and am relatively clear on what I need to do. I just begrudge them getting away with it, but will lodge the grievances. You never know they might just step up and deal with things. I won't know if I don't try. Thank you once again. I will be in touch if I need to pursue anything.

You are most welcome. Should you decide to resign and pursue the constructive dismissal route then you would have 3 months from the date of termination of employment to do so. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I spoke with HR yesterday and resigned with immediate effect. They say that they are taking my now eight grievances very seriously, and that they will not advise me of the outcome. I stated in the written resignation that I felt that I had no option and that the unresolved grievances were only part of the reason. Still deciding on whether to contact Acas, strongly believe that they're getting away with it. Leaving a solid job, salary, company vehicle and reference was hard enough. Will need more fight if I go down the tribunal route. I will be taking on a big company. What sort of costs does pursuing a claim have?

Hi there, the initial ACAS process I free. If you were to issue a claim then for claiming constructive dismissal you are looking at a £250 issue fee and then a £950 hearing fee. You do not need legal representation unless you want it and if you do then it will of course increase he costs – how much by depends on who you use and how much you use them. I would say a couple of thousand on average for a full representation