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Constructive Dismissal and Burden of Proof

The case of Billy Harris v Scoil Chaitrióna Cailíni ADJ-00030365 is a good example of the high burden of proof on an employee who is trying to succeed in a claim for unfair dismissal after resigning from their job.

It is well established that in advancing a claim for constructive dismissal, an employee must show they had no option in their job other than to terminate their employment. This requirement places a high burden of proof on an employee to demonstrate they acted reasonably and had exhausted all internal procedures formal or otherwise in an attempt to resolve their grievances with their employer.

In this case the employee lost their claim for unfair dismissal for a number of reasons. Firstly the employee did not respond to the outcome of his grievance meeting with the Board, other than to say they had failed to address his issues. The Complainant also made no claims that the school breached his contract of employment which can sometimes result in an employee being justified in resigning where a significant breach goes to the root of the contract of employment. In essence the employee failed to demonstrate that he had no other option but to resign.

Employment Case Law Learning

Employees should understand that the bar to succeeding in a claim for constructive dismissal is very high and they must demonstrate that they had no other option but to resign. An employee must try and exhaust all internal procedures such as the grievance procedure (including any appeal) before considering resigning.

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