Law at work | 2

Constructive Dismissal In order to succeed in a CD claim, an employee needs to show that his employer’s conduct was likely to destroy or seriously damage trust and confidence between them, even if that was unintended (this is called a perceived breach). Some instances of these are:

1. Failure to take an employee’s concerns seriously and to deal with them in accordance with internal grievance procedures.

2. Not ensuring that natural justice prevails in disciplinary investigations and the meting out of punishments.

3. The imposing of detrimental changes to an employee’s working arrangements, such as workplace location. Employers should give advance notice and discuss the change with the employee first.

Although the onus of proof in a CD claim is on the employee, it augurs well for the employer to take pre-emptive measures to manage the risk.

1. Make clear to every employee on the organisation’s ‘employee value proposition’, and ensure that every employee receives rewards and recognitions fairly and transparently;

2. Provide an effective two-way dialogue between employer and employee e.g. a townhall so as to give employees a “voice”;

3. Provide opportunities for career development in the organisation; and

4. Adopt a more 'bottom up' management style.

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