A report in the Daily Mail last week said ex-Bath players and joint captains Michael Lipman and Alex Crockett intend "to seek legal retribution for the nine-month ban imposed on them last June by an RFU disciplinary tribunal for allegedly missing drug tests."
The pair denied missing the tests and walked out on Bath shortly after the ban came into effect. According to the Mail, they believe they had no option but to resign and are considering a case of constructive dismissal.
The paper quotes their solicitor Richard Mallett as saying: "I can confirm they are pursuing a further course of action. Things are still on-going. We have an awful lot to talk about. Constructive dismissal is one of a number of considerations."
What is constructive dismissal?
Where someone feels forced to resign because of their employer's unlawful behaviour, they may be able to claim for constructive dismissal.
How to prove constructive dismissal
To prove constructive dismissal, Lipman and Crockett must demonstrate that Bath committed a serious breach of contract, they did not accept the breach, and they felt forced to resign because of that breach.
Examples of serious breaches of contract in the context of constructive dismissal include:
- a unilateral pay cut;
- arbitrary demotion to a lesser role;
- changing job duties, working hours or place of work without the affected employee's consent;
- making it impossible for an employee to do their job effectively;
- failing to give an employee reasonable support to carry out their job without disruption or harassment from co-workers;
- forcing an employee to work in conditions where health and safety regulations are not observed; &
- wrongly and without evidence accusing an employee of serious misconduct (e.g., theft or failing to take a mandatory drugs test).
Constructive dismissal cases are hard to win, so you should always seek advice before leaving your job. Factors such as your employment status, the terms of your employment contract, length of service, and reasons for leaving all require consideration.
** Additional information & advice about constructive dismissal law **
Alternatively, you may want to speak with an employment law solicitor. You can find a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.