Quitting in style

An unhappy employee who quit in spectacular fashion raises an interesting point regarding unfair dismissal.

A disgruntled employee ignored the traditional resignation letter this week and instead used their boss’s car to convey their message. In what ultimately turned out to be a marketing stunt, a white car in Leeds city centre was spotted with “worse boss ever” and “up yours I quit” spray painted all over it. 

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While this might raise a smile - though not for the owner of the car - the stunt caught the eye of our Employment Law team, who cautioned against the method and gave a word of advice to anyone considering resignation in protest at how they are treated at work.

Where an employee resigns in response to their employer’s behaviour it is possible that this will amount to a ‘constructive dismissal’ and therefore a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal.  However, unfair constructive dismissal will occur only where an employer has committed a serious breach of the employment contract.  Conduct that could provide grounds for constructive dismissal might include:

  • Refusal to pay wages that are due or a demotion with no reason given
  • If your employer significantly changes the nature of your work i.e. forces you to work night shifts when your job consists of day shifts
  • If your employer bullies or harasses you, or allows other employees to do so

Even then, however, our Employment Law team has warned that claiming constructive dismissal is far from straightforward and nobody should risk a resignation without taking advice. Our Employment Law expert, Paul Hennity commented:

It is always worth getting a solicitor to ghost draft a resignation letter, as key terminology is useful. i.e. the “breakdown in mutual trust and confidence”

Short and concise letters are recommended, as the less that is said the less that can picked apart by the accused employer.

Paul also makes the point that however satisfying it might be to spray paint the boss’s car on your way out, this is not going to help your case in any Tribunal claim.

In short, we would not recommend this kind of direct action, no matter how disgruntled you are!

If you have a question regarding your employer or if you think you may have a possible claim, you can contact our expert Employment law team by calling today on 0800 781 3894.