Guide

When an employee resigns

Resignations where the employee may claim constructive dismissal

An employee may be entitled to resign if you fundamentally breach a term of their employment contract. This is known as constructive dismissal.

Breaches of contract that may give rise to unfair constructive dismissal claims might include anything which makes it impossible or intolerable for the employee to continue doing the job.

Examples of breaches of contract

Some examples of breaches of contract include:

  • cutting an employee's wages or salary or other contractual benefits without their agreement
  • transferring an employee to a different job or location in the absence of any stated or implied contractual right to do so
  • failing to provide a safe place of work
  • breach of your obligation of mutual trust and confidence, a term that is implied in every employment contract

For this reason you should always seek the employee's prior written agreement when you propose to change their employment contract. For more details, see how to change an employee's terms of employment.

If you don't get the employee's agreement, they could raise a grievance with you. When dealing with such a grievance, you should follow a fair and reasonable procedure. Ideally your procedure should follow the good practice principles set out in the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.