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A reason to resign

A recent decision of the EAT, Logan v. Celyn House Ltd, provides guidance as to the reason(s) that employees must have for resigning from their job in order to succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal.

Ms Logan was employed as a veterinary nurse but resigned in response to a grievance decision with which she was dissatisfied. The grievance raised against her employer related to, amongst other things, alleged bullying (which the Employment Tribunal found to have been a story invented by Ms Logan) and a failure to pay contractual sick pay.

In the Employment Tribunal, the employer’s failure to pay contractual sick pay was found to be a repudiatory breach of Ms Logan’s employment contract. Notwithstanding this fact, the Employment Tribunal held that Ms Logan’s principal reason for resigning was in relation to the bullying she alleged she had been subjected to at work. As this aspect of the grievance had been found to be false, Ms Logan’s constructive dismissal claim was dismissed.

The EAT, however, allowed the Claimant’s appeal on the basis that the Employment Tribunal had applied the wrong test when deciding Ms Logan’s case. The Employment Tribunal should have asked itself whether the repudiatory contractual breach, failing to pay sick pay, was a reason for the resignation. It was not the case that the breach had to be the sole or principal reason for resigning and the EAT held that Ms Logan had been constructively dismissed.

Whether this case is the last word on the relationship between an employer’s repudiatory breach of contract and an employee’s reasons for resigning remains to be seen…

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