In Frith Accountants Ltd v Law, Mrs Law claimed constructive dismissal after resigning when it transpired that the firm had consulted her son about her performance issues, having failed to receive a coherent explanation from her. Frith appealed the compensatory award and the EAT held that the tribunal should have considered whether it was just and equitable to take into account the employee’s conduct when deciding if the basic award should be reduced. In the event, the tribunal decided there was insufficient reason to reduce the reward.
While determining this case, the EAT considered the approach to reducing compensatory awards in constructive dismissal cases generally. It acknowledged that it would be unusual, but not exceptional, for a constructive dismissal to be caused or contributed to by an employee’s conduct. However, although it agreed that an employee’s contributory conduct should be considered when deciding on the award, it would be unlikely to trump the original cause of the claim, namely the employer's breach of the implied term of trust and confidence which requires an employer's conduct to be without reasonable or proper cause.