Centre for Autism Research and Education CC v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and others (2) – (2020) 29 LC 1.13.13 also reported at [2020] 12 BLLR 1260 (LC)

Subject matter classification:
Practice and procedure – Application for leave to appeal – Dismissal – Constructive – Employer seeking leave to appeal against finding that employees had been constructively dismissed because of intolerable bullying – Leave to appeal refused. 

Mini Case Summary:
In Centre for Autism Research and Education CC v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and others [2020] 11 BLLR 1123 (LC) the court dismissed with costs the applicant’s application to review and set aside an arbitration award in which the Commissioner found that the respondent employees had been constructively dismissed because the applicant’s owner had bullied them to the point that rendered continuing employment intolerable. The applicant sought leave to appeal against the judgment, contending that the Court had erred by not finding that the employees’ failure to file a grievance before resigning precluded them from claiming constructive dismissal. 

The Court noted that it had found that the general rule that employees should lodge a grievance before resigning and claiming constructive dismissal is not inflexible and that in the circumstances no purpose would have been served by the employees doing so. The Court also confirmed its finding that the employees had been bullied beyond endurance, and added that the International Labour Organisation had recently adopted the Violence and Harassment Convention of 2019 and reminded member states that they should treat bullying and other forms of harassment with “zero tolerance”. The respondent’s conduct had stripped the employees of all vestiges of dignity. Their decision to resign without invoking the company’s grievance procedure was entirely justifiable, as was the Commissioner’s finding that they had been constructively dismissed. 

Leave to appeal was refused with costs.