What is constructive dismissal and when can someone claim constructive dismissal?

Constructive Dismissal is where an employer has committed a serious breach of contract, entitling the employee to resign in response to the employer’s conduct. The employee is entitled to treat him or herself as having been “dismissed” and the employer’s conduct is often referred to as a “repudiatory breach of contract”.
Unsurprisingly Constructive dismissal can arise in a wide variety of circumstances.
In the case Gibbs v Leeds United Football Club Limited heard before the High Court, a football club Assistant Manager won a six-figure sum in compensation after a personality clash, an effective demotion and a failure to give him appropriate work to do combined to make his position at the club untenable.
Mr. Gibbs was employed by Leeds United Football Club on a three-year fixed-term contract. Unfortunately, his employment only lasted 15 months before he resigned his position. The employee/employer relationship began to deteriorate after the senior team’s manager left the club.
A new manager was appointed whom Mr. Gibbs did not get on well with. Mr. Gibbs resignation was ultimately triggered by his exclusion from performing any meaningful part in the senior team’s training and his coaching role was predominantly with Leeds United’s junior teams.
In determining whether Mr. Gibbs’ claim of constructive dismissal should succeed, the Court had to decide whether Leeds United was in breach of its contract with Mr. Gibbs, whether that breach was a repudiatory breach and then whether the resignation was in response to that breach.
In upholding his claim, the Court found that the club had breached the contract of employment, amongst other matters, by failing to give him work to do that was appropriate to his seniority. Mr. Gibbs was awarded £331,426 in damages, as the club was found to have had breached its employment contract as the breach was repudiatory and the resignation was as a result of that breach.
Employment law is notoriously complex and fast changing. At WSP we use our specialist knowledge and experience to understand your personal circumstances.
We provide a complete specialist service, covering both contentious and non-contentious areas of employment law. We are skilled at negotiating and achieving substantial settlements for our clients.
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