Advice tailored to your needs

Resigning from work due to your treatment, known as constructive dismissal, can be an extremely difficult decision. Pursuing a constructive dismissal claim is the first step in correcting the unjust treatment you've received, allowing you to leave the experience behind you and look forward to your future life and career.

Smith Partnership's expert constructive dismissal solicitors have years of experience in helping employees make constructive dismissal claims against former employers. We use the expertise we've gained to advise you on the best course of action, tailoring our advice to your individual needs. Get in touch with our team today. ​

What is Constructive Dismissal?

The term 'constructive dismissal' refers to situations where you've been forced to resign from work after your employer has treated you unfairly or unreasonably. Whilst resignation is a drastic decision, you're likely to have felt that there was no other option available to you. This may typically be due to breaches of your employment contract or UK employment law. Examples of this include: ​

  • Unsafe working environments/equipment, breaching health and safety terms.
  • Reducing your pay or not paying you minimum wage.
  • Changing your working hours without informing you/seeking consent, which may include reducing your hours.
  • Unreasonable changes to any terms of your contract without your consent.
  • Demoting you with no legitimate reason. 
  • Expecting or forcing you to travel or relocate with no prior warning.
  • Refusing to give you standard company benefits which you're entitled to.
  • Not addressing or adequately dealing with complaints and grievances raised by employees regarding their treatment.
  • Acting in a manner which breaks down trust and confidence.

The potential breaches that may lead to constructive dismissal are not limited to those listed above. If you've experienced constructive dismissal due to any of the above, or if your employer has treated you unreasonably in any other way, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

What are the Criteria?

In order to bring a compensation claim for constructive dismissal, your case must meet the following criteria:  

  • You resigned immediately following a breach or after the grievance procedure failed to resolve the issue. Continuing to work allows the employer to argue that you accepted the change or behaviour by staying.
  • Provide proof that you resigned in response to the employer's breach.
  • Normally, you must have worked for the employer for at least 2 years, although there are some limited exceptions, such as where you are constructively dismissed due to whistleblowing.
  • Have brought your claim against the employer within 3 months of the end of your employment.

If you believe you meet the criteria and would like to find out how we can help you make a constructive dismissal compensation claim, get in touch with our expert Employment team today.

What Happens Next?

After you have spoken to a member of our employment team and we've gathered all the relevant information, we'll review your case and advise on the next steps.  

If you wish to proceed and give us your instructions, our specialists will be dedicated to securing the maximum amount of compensation you're entitled to. 

Like most employment-related matters, trying to obtain early conciliation through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is the first step. However, if unsuccessful, the dispute can be resolved by the employment tribunal. Whatever the case, it is advisable to seek professional legal advice regarding your claim to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome. 

Tips for a Strong Case

Unlike other employment disputes such as unfair dismissal, proving constructive dismissal is your responsibility as the employee. Here are some tips and advice on ensuring your case is as strong as possible:  

  • Before resigning, try and resolve the issue through the formal grievance procedure. This could save you the stress involved with constructive dismissal if the issue is resolved. However, if you're forced to resign, being able to demonstrate to the tribunal that you tried to resolve the issue strengthens your case. Failing to do this will also reduce the maximum amount of compensation you'll be entitled to by 25%. 
  • Explicitly state the reason for resigning (relating to the employer's breach) in your notice letter. This proves to the tribunal that you left due to constructive dismissal rather than any other reason.
  • Do not ignore or be seen to waiver the breach by continuing to work or not lodging a grievance. This is called 'affirming the breach' and can be used as a counter-argument by the employer. 
  • In cases of a serious breach, working your notice period may weaken your case as again, you appear to be 'affirming the breach'. The longer the notice period, the more damaging this is to your case. 
  • Seek legal advice as early as possible. We understand how upsetting the situation can be, but it's important to be aware that if constructive dismissal is the route you intend to take, you need to think strategically. The best way to do this is with the help and support of a solicitor with extensive experience in the area. ​

How We Can Help

We understand how stressful work environments can be, and being treated unreasonably by your employer only adds to the difficulty. If you choose to instruct us, we'll work tirelessly to resolve the issue, allowing you to focus on your next step.

Why Choose Smith Partnership?

Choosing us to guide you through your claim means you'll receive a straight-talking, jargon-free service. Our personalised approach will put your needs first, meaning you can put your mind at ease knowing your claim is in the best hands.  

Our network of offices in Derby, Leicester, Burton upon Trent, Swadlincote and Stoke-on-Trent means we are always on hand with accessible advice centred around you. We also provide first-rate legal advice by telephone or email.

Contact our team today

To find out how our expert team of solicitors can help you, contact us today on 0330 123 1229, send us an email via or complete our contact form.


A constructive dismissal arises where an employee has resigned due to the actions of the employer, which normally must be very serious breaches of the employee’s contract. In the majority of cases, the breach alleged is that the employer has acted in such a way as to destroy the relationship of trust between it and the employee.

In order to prove constructive dismissal, the employee must be able to show that the employer has breached a fundamental term of the contract. This can sometimes relate to an express term, such as pay, but normally it relates to the creation of a hostile working environment. Constructive dismissal claims could arise from bullying or harassment, unreasonable changes to your job such as longer/reduced hours or a demotion, withheld wages, contractual benefits being taken away and insufficient support being provided. The employee must “accept” the employer’s breach by resigning and must not delay in doing so or act in a manner consistent with “waiving” the employer’s breach e.g. by continuing in the employment without objection.

No. In order to make a claim for constructive dismissal, you must have resigned from the job.

A constructive dismissal claim can only be brought normally if you had two years’ service when their employment ended. The compensation that can be awarded will be a “basic award” which is calculated based on your length of service, your age and your weekly pay. Also, if you are out of work for a period after your resignation, you may be entitled to a compensatory award which is awarded for losses which occurred due to the constructive dismissal, such as loss of earnings. The compensatory award is subject to a cap, which is currently 12 months pay or £88,519, whichever is the lower.

This depends on the details and complexities of your individual case. For a more accurate estimation, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.

Unfortunately, no. You must normally have at least 2 year's service as an employee for the employer in order to claim constructive dismissal. It may be possible to make a claim for wrongful dismissal but this is usually only limited to the length of the notice period. Also, there are some limited cases which require no minimum service such as discrimination or whistleblowing claims, or constructive dismissals relating to such reasons as pregnancy or asserting statutory rights. In any case, it's best to seek expert legal advice.

If you have resigned from a role after at least 2 year's service due to either breaches of contract by the employer or the creation of a hostile work environment, you may be able to claim constructive dismissal.