Suzgo Kaluluma, comments on Unfair Constructive Dismissal
Employment Law specialist, Suzgo Kaluluma, comments on Unfair Constructive Dismissal and the high profile ‘Apprentice Case’ – English v Amshold Group Ltd (2013)
The Press is buzzing in the aftermath of the high profile Employment case brought by the 2010 winner of the BBC television program, The Apprentice, against Lord Alan Sugar’s company Amshold Group Ltd (English v Amshold Group Ltd (2013)).
The case reminded us that the burden of proof on an employee in an unfair constructive dismissal case should not be underestimated. The employee has to establish conduct on the part of the employer that is so serious that it destroys or seriously damages trust and confidence. Ms English’s claim before the East London Employment Tribunal was dismissed and in its judgment the Tribunal was critical of Ms English’s legal advisers and considered that she was ill advised to bring a claim or to continue it.
The case was decided on the facts and affirms the longstanding legal position that Ms English would have only been deemed to have been constructively dismissed if she terminated her contract of employment in circumstances in which she was entitled to terminate it without notice by reason of her employer’s conduct (s.95 (1) (c) Employment Rights Act 1996). The Employment Tribunal failed to find any conduct by Lord Sugar or Amshold Group Ltd serious enough to justify Ms English’s decision to resign from her employment and claim that she had been constructively dismissed.
From a practical point of view and to employees reading this, strong evidence of an employer’s unacceptable conduct is needed to substantiate claims of constructive dismissal. If you are seeking to rely on a series of events amounting to such unacceptable conduct, keeping a diary of events is always helpful. Unfortunately, the Employment Tribunal found that the notes in Ms English’s diary did not support her account of events. We stress to our employer clients that retaining notes of important meetings with your employees will put you in a much stronger position if a situation arises where the information must be relied upon in a Tribunal.
If you have any questions regarding the issues explored above or would like to discuss any other aspect of Employment Law, please contact our Employment Specialist.