08 June 2010 #Employment
In cases of constructive dismissal where an employer has committed a repudiatory breach of contract, an employee must not delay too long before resigning or it would be taken that the contract has been affirmed.
However, in Munchkins Restaurant Ltd and another v Karmazyn and others the employees had been subject to unwanted sexual conduct for several years. It was found that this amounted to a repudiatory breach and that the contract had not been affirmed.
The employees had found a way to deal with the unwanted conduct by relying on the assistant manager who acted as a ‘buffer` between them and the perpetrator of the unwanted sexual conduct. This balance made their jobs acceptable. The employees only left their jobs when this assistant manager fell ill and was unable to work any longer. The employees all left employment within 3 months of the assistant manager leaving.
Employers should therefore be aware that resignations could take place long after the alleged breach of contract.