Constructive Dismissal arises when an employee terminates his
or her contract of employment because of the behavior
of the employer.
Generally any dismissal is presumed to be
unfair unless the employer can show substantial grounds
to justify it.
If an employee terminates his or her employment and then claims
constructive dismissal under unfair dismissals legislation,
then the employee must be able to prove the resignation
In general an employee must have 12 months continuous service
with the employer before a claim for unfair dismissal can be
taken. Constructive dismissal can occur when an employer has acted
unreasonably or where conduct by fellow employees goes unchecked
by the employer.
It is important that any internal company grievance has
been used prior to resignation. It is then up to the employee
to prove that the resignation was justified and that he/she
was left with no alternative.
A former employee of a DIY store group has been awarded €12,480 after
the Employment Appeals Tribunal concluded that the claimant had been
The claimant told the Tribunal that the atmosphere at work in the store
had changed dramatically following the arrival of a new store
manageress. She subsequently started to pick on people and would have
tantrums if one did not go on break on time.
In spring 2002 the situation got worse. Name calling started. Words like
flirt and floozy were used. C (the claimant) was known as the ‘blond
bimbo.’ M (the manager) called her these names. No one else did.”
In one incident, the claimant said that she was helping an old man when M
called out on the tannoy (loudspeaker) that C was a ‘flirt’. Some
weeks, she would be M’s ‘best buddy’. Other weeks she would be “walking
on egg shells”.
CASH TILL SHORTAGE
A series of incidents was recounted. Disciplinary action was threatened
over a small shortage in the cash till. The manager introduced a new
rule that anyone with more than €10 up or down in their till would be
One day, ‘M’ asked the claimant why she had not left the company. She
advised her “to start looking for another job”. In May 2005, the
claimant handed in her notice. She “could not listen to the name calling
and verbal abuse any longer”.
Another employee at the store gave evidence on behalf of the claimant.
She recalled receiving a warning letter for being one minute late from
‘M’, who “called her things”.
In her evidence on behalf of the respondent, ‘M’ denied the claims. She
insisted that she ‘got on fine’ with the claimant and denied calling her
a ‘blond bimbo’. She did not recall the incident concerning the till.
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