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  • My Work Rights

Your questions answered: What is constructive dismissal?

Updated: May 3, 2023

Constructive dismissal is something we get asked about frequently, so lets break it down.

What is constructive dismissal

In simple terms, constructive dismissal occurs when an employer's actions or behavior towards an employee are so bad that the employee feels they have no other choice but to quit. Basically, it could be anything unreasonable that causes the situation to become untenable for you.

What does this look like?

This can happen when the employer breaks the rules of the employment contract, behaves in a really bad way, or makes the workplace unbearable.

Some examples of behavior that could lead to constructive dismissal are not being paid your wages, being made to work in dangerous conditions, or being harassed or discriminated against.

Or, if your employer fails to act reasonably when you raise a concern, for instance, if you say that you are being bullied by another co-worker.

But my employer didn't tell me I was fired?

If you can show that their employer's behavior was a major factor in their decision to quit, and that quitting was the only option they had, then they may be able to make a case for constructive dismissal, even if your employer doesn't outright tell you to leave.

What should I do?

In general, the onus is on the employee to raise their concerns where possible before resigning, but if you don't do this it won't necessarily prevent you from successfully claiming that you've been constructively dismissed.


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