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Ask Eddie

Constructively dismissed – can he claim Jobseeker’s?

Q: My husband found himself in a position where he simply had to resign from his job – aside from several clear instances of bullying, his boss wrote several cheques to him that simply bounced and never gave any indication that they’d be replaced with good ones. I’m not an employment law guru but, in my view, it’s a clear case of constructive dismissal. He’s actively looking for work now but I’ve been told that he’s not eligible to claim Jobseeker’s Benefit in the meantime since he left his job ‘voluntarily’. Is this true? If so, it seems deeply unfair.

A: It would indeed be deeply unfair if it were true. However, the regulations concerning Jobseeker’s Benefit only specify that a person is ineligible for the payment if they left their job voluntarily and without reasonable cause. A case of constructive dismissal, if you can demonstrate this, should be accepted by the Social Welfare Office. In cases such as this, it’s common to make a written statement outlining how your husband left employment at the same time as the claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit. I would make this claim – and prepare a statement regarding the unfair dismissal – as soon as possible. The Department of Social Welfare may go to your husband’s former employer looking for the other side of the story. However, if the story of constructive dismissal checks out, I would expect to see your husband’s claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit approved. Should you want to pursue the employer for compensation after this constructive dismissal, you have six months from the date your husband left work to make a complaint to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
For answers to frequently asked questions about Jobseekers' Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance, click here.
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