Constructive Dismissal

 5 August 2015

Randall v Shaftesbury Junior School (unpublished)

This case concerns a teacher who had been employed for two and a half years. During this time, there were several incidents between her and the school – put simply, the employer/employee relationship was fractious to say the least!

Despite intimating that she wished to resign, the teacher did not tender her resignation. Given their relationship, it is safe to assume that this was a matter of great disappointment to the school. Subsequently, the teacher was put under pressure to resign and even had a lesson interrupted by the head teacher who enquired whether her written resignation was ready. It wasn’t.

It is alleged that the teacher was then put under further pressure to resign by the end of the week. When she did so, she issued a tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal, race discrimination and victimisation. The latter two claims were dismissed by the tribunal but they did side with her on the first claim, and awarded £49,000. It was deemed that the pressure the applicant was put under was ‘wholly unwarranted’ and ‘had the capacity to constitute the last straw’. 

Employees must be allowed to decide to resign at their own pace and any pressure applied by the employer could potentially lead to a successful claim for constructive unfair dismissal. If an employee’s behaviour regarding their potential dismissal is unacceptable and disruptive, there is nothing to prevent disciplinary procedures being commenced due to the adverse impact of their behaviour upon the workplace.

A situation such as this requires careful management. Our Alpha service can provide the support your business needs. If you would like to find out more about what Alpha can do for you, please feel free to contact us.

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