Employment Law: Unfair Dismissal – Constructive Dismissal

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The case of Thornley v Land Securities Trillium Ltd [2005] concerned a claim for unfair and constructive dismissal by an employee who alleged that her employer imposed a new job description on her and she contended that her contract of employment was fundamentally breached by such changes to her duties imposed by her employer. The Tribunal upheld this claim.

The employee was originally employed by the BBC as an architect in its construction management department. On or around 12 November 2001, a substantial part of the construction department was transferred to the appellant employer, Thornley, under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1982.

Following this transfer, the employer announced its plans to restructure the department. This meant that the employee’s role would have changed to that of a managerial role from the hands-on architectural work she had previously done. On or around 1 October 2002, the employee attended a meeting where she indicated that she believed her position was being made redundant. She wrote to the employer stating that as a result of the proposed restructuring, her professional expertise was being dissipated and she was becoming de-skilled as an architect. She also stated that her position was being made redundant. On or around 8 December, she again wrote to her employer raising a grievance in respect of the new role, which she claimed was not comparable with the job specification of the role she had when she was transferred to the employer.

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Yohannes Torres

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