Constructive Dismissal

27 August 2014

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has ruled on the question of whether an employee is prevented by law from claiming constructive dismissal if he is in repudiatory breach of his contract.

Our thanks to David Leslie of Lyons Davidson for preparing this case summary of the EAT decision in Atkinson v Community Gateway Association, following the Court of Session's decision in McNeill v Aberdeen City Council. An employee who might be dismissed for gross misconduct can jump before he is pushed. However, the misconduct will be relevant to remedy.

The EAT confirmed that the employer had not breached the employee's ECHR article 8 right to respect for his private life and correspondence by reviewing personal emails of a sexual nature sent from work.

The EAT also held that the employment tribunal was wrong to strike out a claim for detriment relating to a protected disclosure on the basis that the employer could not be vicariously liable for its employees' conduct in subjecting the Claimant to a detriment.

In light of the appeal findings, it was an error of law to strike out the claim without hearing all the evidence. That step should only be taken in rare cases.