7 Different Types of Constructive Dismissal
In proving a constructive dismissal case, an employee has to demonstrate that the employer breached the contract to the extent that you were left with no other option than to quit. Such a contract breach could involve the failure by your employer to pay your dues or a demotion without any basis.
Other reasons could be an unhealthy and dangerous working environment, changes in your job that are outside your contract such as being forced to work night shifts, extended hours, etc. There are different types of constructive dismissal cases.
1. Reducing Wages Without Consent
If your employer wakes up one day and decides to slash your salary without your consent, you have the right to sue for constructive dismissal. This is a serious breach of your employment contract. You should keep the letter informing you of the salary cut and your written response to it. These will act as evidence that indeed the terms of the contract were breached.
2. Unlawful Demotion
Whereas it is difficult to successfully argue out an unlawful demotion case, if you have solid evidence that a demotion was malicious, unjustified and uncalled for, you can claim constructive dismissal damages.
3. Harassment by Other Employees
If an employer allows employees to harass, bully, humiliate, victimize or discriminate against another employee without reprimanding them, one can sue for damages. Ideally, when such cases are brought to the attention of an employer, the offending employee should be reprimanded and other appropriate actions taken against them.
4. Increased Workload
If an employer arbitrary and unfairly increases your workload without your consent or without compensating you, you could press constructive dismissal charges against them. However, before taking this action, carefully scrutinize your contract to establish whether you have solid reasons and evidence to pursue this route. If your contract says that part of your duties include ‘any other duties as the employer may deem fit’, pursuing damages under this scenario could be a very difficult nut to crack. Proceed only if you have overwhelming evidence that your employer is at fault.
5. Work Location Changes
If your employer suddenly decides to move offices to another location without contractual authority, and should you for one reason or another not be in a position to relocate to that location, perhaps because this will involve leaving your family behind, you could apply for constructive dismissal. In an ideal situation, an employer should adequately prepare their staff and provide compensation for those unwilling to relocate.
6. Dangerous Work Conditions
You could also sue your employer for constructive dismissal if you have good reasons to believe that continued working exposes you to dangerous conditions. If you have a serious concern about your safety at the workplace, you will be within your rights to seek compensation for constructive dismissal.
7. Contract Breach
A breach of your employment contract that makes you unable to continue working is good ground for constructive dismissal. This is perhaps one of the easiest constructive dismissal cases to prove since all you need to do is to prove that your employer grossly breached the terms of your employment contract to the point where you find it necessary to quit.
Constructive dismissal happens when an employee is forced to quit their job against their will because of an employer’s conduct or employment conditions that they can longer put up with. Their decision to resign could be instigated by a number of scenarios such as poor working conditions, harassment, violence, or amendments to employment terms that leave them with no other choice.
If you feel ‘forced’ to quit your job against your will, you have the right to sue the company for damages. However, you will need to have solid evidence of the violation of your contract terms for your case to stand a chance. If your evidence is weak or unsubstantiated, the court will be more inclined towards giving your employer the benefit of doubt.