Constructive dismissal: Chelsea Football Club’s ex doctor Eva Carneiro

Even non-football fans will have heard about the drama surrounding the football match between Chelsea and Swansea on 8 August 2015 during which Chelsea’s (then) doctor – Ms Carneiro and physio – Mr Fearn, ran on the pitch to treat wounded Eden Hazard. Following the match, it was publicly reported that Ms Carneiro was prohibited from attending future training sessions, matches or even to enter the team hotel.

It has been speculated that Ms Carneiro will be issuing a claim for constructive dismissal against Chelsea Football Club and for sex discrimination against both the club and José Mourinho based on the fact that she was treated differently to Mr Fearn.

So where does she stand?

To be eligible to claim constructive dismissal, Ms Carneiro would have to be an employee and have at least two year’s continuous service.

Constructive dismissal claims arise where an employee feels that they have no other alternative but to resign in response to the employer’s repudiatory/serious breach of contract. This could be breach of an express term of a contract, for instance unilaterally cutting your pay, or an implied term of a contract, for instance the implied mutual duty of trust and confidence.

Unlike constructive dismissal claims which can only be brought against the employer, discrimination claims can be brought against both the employer and the discriminator. A worker can issue a claim regardless of length of service, and indeed it is possible to claim discrimination if they believe that they have failed to obtain a job based on a protected characteristic.

There are a number of protected characteristics and types of discrimination (as detailed in a previous post).

The deadline to issue claims at the Employment Tribunal is 3 months less a day from:

  1. The date of termination of employment (for unfair and constructive dismissal claims)
  2. The last act of discrimination (for discrimination claims)

Prior to issuing a claim, an employee first has to contact ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to discuss early conciliation to try and settle any claims without the need to resorting to litigation. During any period of early conciliation the time to lodge a claim is “paused” and will be re-started at the end of the early conciliation process.

If you want to discuss a constructive dismissal or discrimination claim, please give our specialist employment team a call on 0113 244 9931.

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