Constructive dismissal

What Is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive dismissal, also known as constructive discharge or termination, occurs when an employee resigns due to a series of unfavorable or hostile work conditions created by the employer. This resignation, though voluntary on the surface, is essentially an involuntary termination, as the work conditions became intolerable. It is a significant concept in employment law, safeguarding employee rights against unfair treatment by employers.

What Are The Reasons For Fair Constructive Dismissal?

  • Misconduct/unacceptable behavior in the workplace, such as theft, dishonesty, harassment, or insubordination.
  • Incapability or poor performance, especially when they fail to meet the required performance standards despite reasonable efforts to support improvement.
  • When a job role is no longer required due to business restructuring, technological advancements, or economic factors.
  • When an employee's actions result in the employer violating a legal obligation or requirement.
  • Some other substantial reasons (SOSR), such as breakdown of trust or compatibility issues.

What Are The Unfair Reasons For Dismissal? 

Unfair constructive dismissal refers to terminating an employee from their job for reasons that are considered unjust or discriminatory. Common unfair reasons for dismissal include:

  • Discrimination factors such as race, gender, age, disability, or religion are considered unfair and illegal in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • Dismissing an employee solely due to illness or disability.
  • Terminating an employee without valid grounds or violating the terms of their employment contract.
  • Dismissing an employee in retaliation for whistleblowing, filing a complaint, or exercising their legal rights.
  • Employers fail to follow established procedures, which may include warnings and performance improvement plans, before resorting to dismissal.
  • Dismissing an employee due to personal animosity, harassment, or unfair treatment.
  • A substantial demotion, involving a notable reduction in job title, responsibilities, or compensation without valid cause.

How Can Employees Avoid Constructive Dismissal?

  • Maintain open channels of communication with employers about any concerns or issues.
  • Seek legal advice before taking any drastic action, such as resigning, to ensure you understand your rights and options.
  • Consider methods like mediation or arbitration to resolve issues without resorting to resignation.
  • Familiarize yourself with labor laws and regulations about constructive dismissal in your jurisdiction.
  • Discuss your concerns with Human Resources Generalist or higher management to explore potential solutions.

How Can Employers Avoid Constructive Dismissal?

  • Encourage open communication with employees, address concerns promptly, and provide a supportive work environment.
  • Ensure compliance with labor laws, regulations, and contractual agreements to avoid actions that may lead to constructive dismissal claims.
  • Give notice of any changes you plan to implement.
  • Offer additional compensation, if possible

How To Prevent Constructive Dismissal Claims?

Employers can implement policies, procedures, and training programs that promote a positive and inclusive work environment, reducing the likelihood of situations leading to constructive dismissal.

In conclusion, constructive dismissal is a complex legal concept that underscores the importance of maintaining fair and supportive work environments. Recognizing and addressing potential issues promptly can help employers foster a positive workplace culture and avoid legal complications related to constructive dismissal claims.

Hire the best talent across MENA.
From a pool of 350,000+ top candidate