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Court of Appeal gives guidance on the ‘last straw’ principle in constructive dismissal

Makbool Javaid
review

In Kaur v Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the Court of Appeal confirmed that in a constructive dismissal claim an employee who has been subjected to a continuing series of breaches of the implied duty of trust and confidence can rely on all of the employer’s acts, even though a previous breach had been accepted, as long as the final act – the “last straw” – was part of the ongoing series of breaches. Each case would be a matter of assessment and the Court set out five questions in paragraph 55 of its judgment that an ET should ask itself to decide if an employee has been constructively dismissed in such circumstances. In this case, however, the ET was entitled to reject Kaur’s claim, as the last straw – she disagreed with the outcome of a properly followed disciplinary procedure – could not be viewed objectively as destroying or seriously damaging trust and confidence.


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