Jersey Employment Law
Jersey constructive dismissal – a brief guide for employers
Under Jersey law constructive dismissal is where you, the employer, fundamentally breaches the employee’s contract of employment in some way.
The employee would then, in turn, have to resign his or her employment as a result of such breach, and not be deemed to have accepted the breach in any way.
Generally, Jersey constructive dismissal claims involve a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence in the contract of employment. This implied term underpins all employment relationships; in essence, it is where you, as an employer, deliberately and without good reason have acted in a way to destroy such trust.
It is important to note that the employee must prove a fundamental (rather than minor) breach of contract by the employer, and the employee must also show that their decision to terminate their employment was in response to the breach. It is not enough to merely show that you the employer has behaved unreasonably. There must be a fundamental breach to claim Jersey constructive dismissal.
Examples of a fundamental breach by employers which could lead to Jersey constructive dismissal include:-
- forcing a cut in salary or other benefits;
- making it untenable for the employee to work by reason of your unreasonable attitude (this has to be serious enough);
- imposing a disciplinary or performance process that is grossly unfair and disproportionate;
- changing your employee’s role or duties without good reason;
- suspending your employee without good reason.
While claims can be difficult for the employee to prove, the potential impact to your business is not to be underestimated. Not only will a claim for Jersey constructive dismissal take up management time and associated costs, there is also the possibility of a substantial award being made against your business (both for wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal) should the employee win the case. There is also the reputational impact such a claim may have on your business.
A Jersey employment tribunal will usually expect an employee to have tried to resolve the issue through the business’ grievance procedure before the employee claims Jersey constructive dismissal. Equally, they will expect you, as an employer, to take such issues seriously and ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation of such a grievance is carried out. Whilst a claim for constructive dismissal can be difficult to prove, there are many examples of Jersey employment law cases where employers have failed to spot basic warning signs and/or neglected to follow the correct procedures.
If you consider you are facing such an issue you should always take professional advice from a Jersey lawyer specialising in Employment Law. Call our Employment Lawyers today on 630530.