Constructive Dismissal Ireland

A claim for constructive dismissal in Ireland is one brought mostly on the basis that an employees work-life has become intolerable due to the conduct of the employer, and they had no alternative but to leave that employment. As the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is in effect a termination.

If you were to take just 1 thing from this post, we would emphasise that it would be that before you leave the employment that you would avail of all the Grievance Procedures, as this can help you significantly in any such case taken.

constructive dismissal ireland

What should you do, if this situation arises in your working life?

  • Speak to your line manager or someone from your HR department. Try to resolve the matter through the normal chain, if possible. Record your efforts.
  • Follow the standard grievance procedure prior to resignation. 
  • Follow the Industrial relations procedures prior to resignation
  • Ask your Solicitor for advice before resigning. Prevention is always number 1. and cure number 2.
  • Only resign when all the avenues have been exhausted and essentially you have done what you can do.
What is the Workplace Relations Commission ?

The Workplace Relations Commission is an independent body in Ireland for the resolution of employment disputes, which can be resolved with the benefit of medication or an adjudicator. The Applicant’s complaint form to the W.R.C. can be found here.

Can I appeal a decision of an Adjudicator Officer ? 

Yes, an appeal can be made to the Labour Court within a strict timeframe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the compensation for constructive dismissal in Ireland ?      

The maximum compensation one can obtain in a successful constructive dismissal claim is 104 weeks remuneration. 

Constructive Dismissal, Ireland – How to Claim ?

One makes claim by completing and submitting an application form which can be located on the Workplace Relations Commission website see here.

There are very strict legal time frames one has to make such a claim which is only within 6 months from the date of dismissal. Also, one should obtain legal advice before assessing the date of dismissal as unfortunately it is not a straightforward matter in Irish Employment law as we have no codified legislation, so there are a number of Acts to consider when assessing what is the actual date of dismissal.

How difficult is it to prove Constructive Dismissal in Ireland ?

Constructive dismissal actions can be difficult to prove as there is a heavy burden on the employee in these actions, in our opinion.

Not only is the burden of proof primarily on the employee in this action, unlike an unfair dismissal action, but the employee must also show they exhausted all internal grievance mechanisms prior to the date of dismissal, and this can be an onerous duty in circumstances where the employee left the employment due to the conduct of the employer which may have become unbearable, so in many instances the employee leaves too early without availing of each and every internal grievance procedure available, and then the employer relies upon this in such actions to successfully defend them on many occasions.

When can you claim for Constructive Dismissal in Ireland ?

This is answered above. 

Constructive Dismissal Definition and Constructive Dismissal Meaning ?

Please see the first paragraph above.

Constructive Dismissal WRC

The Workplace Relations Commission is the forum who deal with such cases. The Complaint From to the the Workplace Relations Commission can be found here.

DISCLAIMER – Constructive Dismissal Ireland Article

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

Success in a Constructive Dismissal Claim

An employee named John for the purpose of this post has had just about enough of his employer’s conduct, resigns, and attends with his solicitor to discuss taking an unfair dismissal case against the employer.

John did not want to leave but had no alternative. He could not take it anymore and therefore had to resign.

If this arises, the solicitor will likely discuss with John the option of taking a Constructive Dismissal claim against his employer. Constructive dismissal claims are by their nature difficult to succeed in. This is not to dissuade an employee from activating their legal rights, but it is just the way it is with Constructive Dismissal actions, as the employee is placed on a high burden of proof in this legal action type.  

If the employee left the employment without availing of every Grievance Procedure mechanism available, it can be very difficult to succeed in this type of action. Not unheard of, but no doubt difficult.

Constructive Dismissal occurs when the employee ends the contract because of the employer conduct.

Employee John, by way of example, is required to prove that the employer is guilty of conduct which was a significant breach going to the root of the contract, or which shows the employer no longer intends to be bound an essential term of the contract, and so the employee was entitled to treat himself/herself as discharged.

If the employee cannot prove this, then the employee must prove that the employer conducted himself so unreasonably that the employee cannot be fairly expected to put up with it any longer. This is often not easy to do without hard evidence.

Sometimes though a data access request can yield evidential proof which supports the employee’s belief that the employer’s conduct was orchestrated to get them out by means of resigning.   

If the employee submits a data access request to the employer with specific persons in the company requested to form part of the data access release request, the employee may find powerful evidence to assist them in proving their case.

This could be in the form of an email or letter from within the employer’s organisation which clearly indicates the employer made up their mind to get rid of the employee, for example, and the subsequent conduct of the employer becomes all the clearer when the case is presented to a case adjudicator ie decision-maker.  

The employee then has tangible proof of the employer’s intention, and the orchestrated circumstances in order to wear down the employee, so they would leave, become a more digestible set of facts for the case adjudicator to accept. This employee then may well succeed in their constructive dismissal action against the employer as a result.

Constructive Dismissal Ireland

Employment Law Articles

Roger Cleary

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