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23 June 2016 0 Comments
Posted in Employment, Opinion

Constructive dismissal test

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

In Gibbs v Leeds United Football Club, the High Court has held that an employee’s willingness to negotiate a termination package does not necessarily prevent him being able to bring a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.

The claimant was the Assistant Manager at Leeds United. The Manager was sacked and the Claimant was asked if he was interested in becoming Head Coach but he declined. He fully expected to be dismissed but he was asked to continue in his role while discussions were held about a consensual departure.   He was not expected to work with the new Manager. He was also excluded from taking any proper part in the training of the first team, which was part of his normal duties, and neither was he invited to pre-season training.  He was then told that he would have no contact with the first team and could instead work with the youth academy.  His response was to resign.

The High Court held that it was not a breach of contract on his part to initiate a discussion about a mutual termination.  The fact that he had said he was prepared to leave if appropriate terms could be agreed was neither here nor there: he had remained ready and willing to fulfil his duties and the email preventing him from doing so amounted to a repudiatory breach since it clearly led to a loss of status and he had resigned in response to this.  He was therefore entitled to succeed in his claim for notice pay.

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