Could Boris Johnson claim Constructive Unfair Dismissal?

Could Boris Johnson claim Constructive Unfair Dismissal?

We have all been listening to the news this week and watching the flurry of resignations and sackings within Parliament, it leads to the question – It is all legal?

  • Are the recently-sacked members of the cabinet able to claim constructive unfair dismissal due to the way in which they have been treated? and

  • Could Boris Johnson himself, a leader of a political party and Prime Minister, having been let-down by members of his own party, shout “constructive unfair dismissal!” from the turrets of Westminster?

What is Constructive Unfair Dismissal?

The first thing to say that MPs are not employees of their political party but members, so the simple answer to this is, NO.  However, constructive dismissal is something that worries many employers, it is worth clarifying what exactly constructive dismissal is.

For there to be constructive unfair dismissal, the employee must resign, otherwise such a claim cannot be pursued.  Whether an employee is successful or not would be up to a Tribunal Judge to decide, but it is a useful reminder to employers that trying to force someone (or allowing their colleagues to force someone) out of a business can have far reaching consequences.

Constructive Dismissal by the employee

Constructive dismissal is behaviour by the employer that is so terrible that the employee feels that they have no option but to resign because they have lost their trust and confidence in their employer.  In effect, it can be thought as this being the opposite of gross misconduct; the situation where an employee commits an act that no employer can no longer have any trust and confidence in them ie theft and assault.

Constructive Dismissal by the employer

Constructive dismissal could be a single act committed by an employer or it could be a series of events with a final straw, which means that the employee has lost their trust and confidence.

An employer is responsible for their conduct towards their staff, so if an organisation ignored or failed to deal with allegations of bullying, harassment, threatening behaviour against an individual employee by their colleagues, which can then lead to that individual resigning.  They could be in turn constructively dismiss the employee.

So, unfortunately for them, Boris and his co-parliamentarians cannot cry ‘dismissal’, only ‘outrage’.

If you feel that you have been constructively unfairly dismissed or that you are in a situation where you contemplate resigning, then please contact our employment team of experienced solicitors. We have experience of dealing with every type of redundancy, dismissal and bullying matter, from whistle-blowing to settlement agreements, we can help advise you and your specific situation.  Contact Us.

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