Team moves: The intention of the employer can be relevant for constructive dismissal cases
In Tullet Prebon PLC and Others v BGC Brokers LP and Others, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the intention of the employer can be a relevant factor when determining whether or not an individual has grounds to claim constructive dismissal.
In March 2009, several city brokers were employed by Tullet Prebon resigned and claimed constructive dismissal, so that they could then join BGC without being restrained by restrictive covenants. When they became aware that the employees intended to move, Tullet Prebon invited the employees into a meeting. The employees claimed that this meeting broke the implied term of trust and confidence. Tullets tried to persuade their employees not to jump ship and when viewed objectively, the Court concluded that the aim of this was to preserve rather than destroy the implied term of trust and confidence. The employees therefore could not claim constructive dismissal and their restrictive covenants remained intact.
The case is a useful reminder that the conduct of employers and the circumstances surrounding the disagreement will be scrutinised very carefully in constructive dismissal cases. The intention of the employer is only one factor that will be considered. So even if there are good intentions behind the employer’s act, this may not be sufficient to defend the claim.
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