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Constructive Dismissal – Importance of Grievance Procedure


Constructive Dismissal arises where an employee resigns from their job. This can be due to a breach of their contract of employment or where it was reasonable for them to resign.

Constructive Dismissal is Unfair Dismissal. The key difference is that in a constructive dismissal claim the employee resigns from their job.

A constructive dismissal claim can be brought before the Workplace Relations Commission under a piece of law called the Unfair Dismissal Acts 1977 (as amended).

An example of a fundamental breach of contract is where your employer fails to pay you your salary or wages.

If an employee cannot prove a fundamental breach of contract then they have to show it is reasonable for them to resign. This can be difficult to prove.

In a recently published decision of the Workplace Relations Commission in A Cleaner v A Cleaning Company (link here), the employee lost their claim for constructive dismissal. This was because they failed to use use the Company’s internal grievance or complaints procedure first.

Why is this important? An employer can argue that they were never given the chance to solve the complaint first.

Employers take note that you should have a grievance policy in place. You should make sure your employees know about it and also explain it to them. This will help you in defending a claim.