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Law: With constructive dismissal, is loss of earnings after dismissal a valid claim if the employee is sick

In a recent case (GAB Robins v Trigg) an employee began to have problems at work in 2001 when working as a PA / secretary to two chartered loss investigators.

At that time one of the investigators drew to the attention of his manager the excessive workload Ms Trigg was under.

Nothing happened and in 2003 she collapsed at home. Again there was no assistance and it was found the manager’s actions amounted to bullying including shouting down the telephone at her.

Eventually in 2004 she returned to work from two days sick leave. The manager was again shouting down the phone, whereupon she left. She was signed off work by her doctor with anxiety and depression.

After about six weeks the HR manager wrote to her indicating she would then receive sick pay only, although this decision was reversed about two weeks later and she continued on full pay for another week.

In December of that year she wrote a letter of grievance to the company director. There was no reply until she later wrote on 17th January 2005.

The grievance process was very poorly handled including a suggestion that everyone got together (including the bullying manager) with Ms Twigg to sort it out.

Ms Twigg terminated her employment and claimed constructive dismissal.

The employer agreed that it was not the dismissal, which led to the future loss of earnings but the fact that she had been ill previously.

On appeal Ms Twigg was awarded future loss of earnings after dismissal on the basis that in her constructive dismissal situation the dismissal was only the last straw in a series of breaches of implied trust and confidence, bullying, and work overload and therefore the employer’s actions led to her future loss of earnings.

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