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Constructive dismissal: Lack of support can be a breach of contract

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If an employee is struggling and is given no support, it could be possible for that employee to argue that there has been a breach of contract and make a breach of contract (or constructive dismissal) claim. In Fletcher v Countrywide Estate Agents [2018], the organisation was sold and, although the employee’s role did not change, the processes did change and she received no support in resolving the problems which subsequently arose. In the months following the sale, Countrywide had “no or only minimal contact” with employees of the acquired business, and failed to undertake inductions or training, or to give explanations of new working systems. 

As a result, the transferred staff faced a number of problems and, in just four months, there were 700 complaints from customers and suppliers.  Fletcher’s line manager was not around to help her resolve them and the tribunal heard that Fletcher was unable to run the office properly because of the changes. She suffered considerable stress, and resigned, successfully claiming constructive dismissal with the judgement referring to the ‘intolerable’ working situation in which she was placed.

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