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constructive dismissal – a case study

Posted by Jessica Thompson on 6th January 2016

Red card offence? Chelsea Football Club faces Employment Tribunal following failure to reach a settlement today with ex-employee Eva Carneriro over constructive dismissal claim


Who is Eva Carneriro?

Eva Carneriro is a first-team Doctor previously employed by Chelsea Football Club.  She left the football club in September 2015 following criticism from then Club Manager José Mourinho that her intervention, together with first team physio Jon Fearn, left the Chelsea team with only nine men in their game versus Swansea on 8 August 2015.

What is she claiming?

Eva Carneriro is bringing a claim for constructive dismissal against her former employer following their failure to agree a severance package with her in October last year.

Her claim alleges that the Club downgraded her role within the medical team.

What has happened so far?

The preliminary hearing took place today in London and no settlement was agreed by the parties. The claim will now progress to a full Employment Tribunal, where the parties will present their cases to the Tribunal in order that a conclusion can be reached.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is a particularly complex area of law as the employer must act in such a way as to cause the employee to leave their employment. The key point of law concerning constructive dismissal is that the employer’s conduct must be the reason causing the employee’s departure (section 95(1)(c) Employment Rights Act 1996).

What will happen at the next heaing?

The facts that the Tribunal will have to consider is whether the Club committed a ‘repudiatory breach’ of their contract of employment with Eva Carneriro by allegedly reducing her responsibilities and duties within the medical team. A ‘repudiatory breach’ occurs when the employer acts in such a way as to breach implied terms, such as their duty to act in good faith, or an express term of the employment contract, which in turn forces the employee to leave.

Will she be successful? 

The difficulty in constructive dismissal claims is that there is no ‘litmus’ test. It will be up to the Employment Tribunal to decide on the facts and circumstances presented to them in deciding whether the Club’s alleged conduct was serious enough to amount to a repudiatory breach of the employment contract.

José Mourinho also faces a claim from Eva Carneriro for alleged sex discrimination.

 What are the consequences? 

With thousands of pounds of damages and the Premier League Club’s reputation at stake, it will be interesting to see how the Tribunal decides this claim, which is due to be heard in June 2016.

What can I do to avoid such a claim? 

If you want to make sure you do not fall foul of the relevant legislation in this area, then contact Stephen Elliott at The Endeavour Partnership on 01642 610326 or any other member of the employment team who will be happy to help and discuss your needs.


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