The Employment Relations Authority has rejected a claim of constructive dismissal, finding that the employer had acted as a fair and reasonable employer would have in the situation.

The employee submitted her letter of resignation after she was given a duty that she believed was given to her as punishment, because she refused to come in on one of her days off. The duty was one that regularly would have been completed by at least two employees, but the employee was instructed to do it alone.

The ERA found that it was reasonable for the duty to be given to the employee, as the amount of work that was required to complete the task was not in excess of what was required of the employee. It was also found that the employee had not completed the task herself, as she had received help from her colleagues, which made the workload even more manageable.

These factors led the ERA to conclude that the claim of unjustified dismissal was not proven, because the employer had acted in a way that was fair and reasonable. As a result of this, the resignation could not be regarded as a constructive dismissal.

The employee also claimed that the employer had unfairly criticised her, sworn at her, and shouted at her, and that this behaviour amounted to belittling and degrading behaviour.

The ERA decided that there was no evidence that the employer had done anything further than fairly critique the employee’s job performance. As a result this claim was also dismissed.

If the employee had better understood the requirements for a successful claim of constructive dismissal, she could have looked at a different approach than putting in her resignation.

If there is confusion around employee rights and options, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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Alan Knowsley