Inadequate Resources and a Constructive Dismissal Claim Yield £44,000 Settlement for College Lecturer

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Inadequate Resources and a Constructive Dismissal Claim Yield £44,000 Settlement for College Lecturer
Photo Credits - Chris Gallagher via Unsplash

A City & Islington College lecturer has been awarded more than £44,000 after succeeding in his constructive dismissal claim. The lawsuit followed a series of shortcomings from the London-based institution, including a failure to repair a classroom that experienced frequent floodings. This article scrutinises what happened and discusses the employment tribunal’s judgment.

Constructive Dismissal Claim – A Series of College Failures

Mr Kevin Hope had been employed as a lecturer at City & Islington College since 2004. He started as a technician and later became a 3D lecturer in art and design.

The lecturer faced various issues starting in July 2017, when his request for PPE, like safety goggles, went unanswered. This was followed by the college’s failure to make necessary repairs when he notified them of flooding in his classroom in November 2018. These issues persisted for years, causing several floods and forcing Mr Hope to use his own PPE with students.

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As a result, Mr Hope emailed “RT”, a college technician, to discuss the lack of resources. However, the issues were raised with RT’s manager, Ms Bradley, when the technician failed to resolve the problems after being contacted repeatedly.

Grievance vs Grievance

On 1 September 2020, Mr Hope met with RT to discuss the failures face-to-face. Three days later, he was surprised to learn that the technician had raised a formal grievance against him. This led to an HR meeting, which subsequently resulted in the lecturer raising his own grievance on 5 October.

Shortly after, a series of meetings took place to discuss RT’s grievance, but Mr Hope wasn’t updated about any developments. He chased for updates on 1 April 2021 and made a complaint later that month, having still heard nothing. When he finally received an update in May, he found an error in the grievance report.

Kevin Hope Reaches Breaking Point

To make matters worse, there were further floods when Mr Hope went to his classroom in August. Despite the college’s attempts to repair the issue causing the floods, their efforts proved insufficient.

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This was the last straw, and as a result, Mr Hope resigned on 11 August, effective 29 October. He felt he had been constructively dismissed due to the college’s failure to deal with his grievance promptly and appropriately and prevent his classroom from flooding. Following his resignation, he submitted his constructive dismissal claim.

The Employment Tribunal’s Judgment on the Constructive Dismissal Claim

During the constructive dismissal claim, the tribunal found the flooding incidents alone didn’t amount to a repudiatory breach of contract. This was because the cost of repairing the leaks would amount to millions of pounds, and although futile, the college attempted to solve the problem.

Despite this, the tribunal held that the college’s failure to adequately address the lecturer’s grievance was a repudiatory breach of contract. They believed the college’s actions would likely damage the trust and confidence between the parties. 

City & Islington College lecturer awarded £44k in constructive dismissal claim after the educational institution failed to properly resolve the lecturer's grievance or fix his classroom which was prone to floods.

They also believed the grievance shortfalls, lack of resources and flooding were connected, making the final floods the last straw. As such, the tribunal ruled in favour of Kevin Hope with his constructive dismissal claim. After a subsequent remedy hearing, the lecturer was awarded £44,068.33, which included compensation for loss of earnings.

What is Constructive Dismissal?

Regrettably, scenarios similar to those encountered by the lecturer are not singular, and others may find themselves in similar situations. When faced with such circumstances, individuals might seek compensation but lack clarity on what constitutes a constructive dismissal claim. Essentially, constructive dismissal occurs when an employer’s conduct severely breaches the employment contract’s terms, leaving the individual with no other choice than to resign.

This could occur for many reasons, including harassment, discrimination, or failure to pay wages. Should an individual believe they’ve experienced similar events, they must satisfy specific eligibility criteria and time limits. Typically, this involves outlining the employer’s intolerable actions and measures the individual took in an attempt to resolve the matter.

You may want expert legal advice if you have faced a situation similar to that in the lecturer’s constructive dismissal claim. If this is the case, contact Redmans Solicitors now. They are employment law specialists and could discuss your circumstances before advising on your possible next steps.

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