Dismissal and bullying

When employers break their fundamental obligations under the contract of employment, an employee can resign either forthwith or giving due notice stating clearly that the employer's conduct has been so unreasonable that he or she is entitled to walk out.

In this circumstance, the employer has not formally written to the employee giving notice, so the employee is not formally dismissed. However, the employee can argue that the actions of the employer were such that it became impossible to remain in the post he or she has been 'constructively' dismissed.

If the employee delays the resignation, he or she is seen to have accepted the employer's conduct and to have waived the breach of contract. A claim to the employment tribunal must be lodged within three months of the date that the resignation takes effect.

Claiming constructive dismissal

To claim constructive dismissal, an employee has to resign and leave his/her post. This is an extremely serious step; you must seek advice from ATL before leaving your job and considering a claim for constructive dismissal.

To succeed at an employment tribunal, you will have to show that the employer's conduct is so intolerable that it amounts to a fundamental breach of contract, and also that you have drawn your manager's attention to the bullying and that nothing has been done about it.

Need further advice?

Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.

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