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 resigns in response to it.
Whilst the alleged breach could be a breach of a specific contractual term, it is also common for a breach to occur when the implied term of trust and confidence has been broken. This is a term which automatically exists in every employment relationship. The conduct relied on could be a serious single act, or a series of less serious, but still relevant, acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).
Before constructive dismissal is considered, it is recommended that a formal grievance is raised in order to officially bring the concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. However, this is not a legal requirement.
If resignation appears to be the only option going forward, it must be done in response to the alleged breach(es) (i.e. without unreasonable delay after they have occurred). Whilst not strictly required, a resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without serving any notice period. It is also 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 with the employer. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of termination of employment to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.
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