Unfair or constructive dismissal

There are laws in place to protect you

After suffering an accident at work, you might be thinking about making a compensation claim.

Choosing to move forward with a claim against your employer can seem daunting, and you might be worried that you’ll be treated unfairly or lose your job altogether. That’s why there are laws in place to make sure you can receive the compensation you need, without having to worry about job security.

For more information or to find out whether we think you could claim, you can get in touch with us for free, impartial advice on 0800 376 0150 or by using the call back form.

What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when your employer ends your employment with them, but they didn’t have a fair reason to do so.

Unfair dismissal happens when:

  • Your employer cannot give you a good reason for dismissing you
  • They haven’t stuck to the formal disciplinary procedure that forms part of their company policy

When you’re injured at work, the last thing you expect is for your employer to add insult to injury by dismissing you. Even if you’re making a claim against your workplace, it’s against the law for your employer to treat you differently.

While it’s unlikely that an employer will take this course of action against you if they do, you should speak to a solicitor who specialises in employment law – they may be able to help you take further legal action.

What to do if you think you’ve been unfairly dismissed

We know there are some cases when you might not be sure whether you were treated unfairly.

The first thing to check is whether you’ve actually been dismissed – resigning by choice or being suspended doesn’t count.

Also, it’s useful to have evidence of the end of your employment, such as a termination letter, or an email from your employer.

You can then check your ‘employment status’. There are three types of employment status: an employee, a worker, or self-employed. You can check what your status is here.

Unfortunately, self-employed staff don’t always have the same rights. But if your status is ‘employee’, then you can get in touch with your employer to ask them to reconsider your role.

If they still insist on ending your employment, then it’s likely you’ll be able to take legal action against them.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal (also called ‘constructive discharge’ or ‘constructive termination’) is when an employer tries to force your resignation by making changes to your job or the conditions you work under.

Unlike unfair dismissal, your employer won’t have fired you. Instead, they may have tried to make you hand in your notice by treating you badly. Proving that your employer’s actions were unlawful can be difficult, but it’s likely that your solicitor will be able to help you.

Examples of constructive dismissal might include:

  • Refusing to pay you money you’re owed
  • Putting you in an uncomfortable position in terms of changing how you work (for example, changing your working hours without notice or a clear reason)
  • Allowing you to be bullied by colleagues and taking no action to prevent it
  • Demoting you without warning or reason

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, if you’re being constructively dismissed then you should leave your job straight away. Staying in your job could be used as evidence that you accepted the treatment or changes to your working conditions.

It’s important to remember that the majority of employers do follow the law when it comes to your contract, so you shouldn’t worry about constructive dismissal as a result of your personal injury claim.

Read more about job security when making a claim

Making a compensation claim for an accident at work

Nobody deserves to be treated badly, especially by the people they work for. Having to leave your job because of someone else can feel unfair, especially if you’re already facing financial pressure because of your injury. We’re here to help.

You may be able to make a claim for your accident if:

  • It happened in the last three years
  • It was somebody else’s fault
  • You were injured as a result

You can get in touch with us for free, impartial advice on 0800 376 0150. We’ll be able to let you know whether we think you can make a claim, but will never pressure you into starting a case.

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