Martin O’Neill resigned as manager of Aston Villa with immediate effect on 9th August 2010. His controversial exit came just five days before the start of the new season and was a shock to the club, its players and its fans. In this article, we take a look at the constructive dismissal case brought by O’Neill, and at what help and advice is on offer.
Constructive dismissal in the O’Neill case
O’Neill was reportedly unhappy about the transfers and funding of players. Despite this, O’Neill said at the time of his departure, “I have enjoyed my time at Aston Villa immensely. It’s obviously a wrench to be leaving such a magnificent club”, before handing his resignation to chief executive Paul Faulkner.
O’Neill later brought a constructive dismissal claim against Villa to the FA Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal. The case went in O’Neill’s favour, citing that the transfer of football player, James Milner to Manchester City, was the deciding factor which caused him to resign. Having been forced to leave his job against his will, due to his employer’s conduct, the courts ruled in O’Neill’s favour.
Aston Villa football club owner, Randy Lerner, stated at the time that he would keep player James Milner and also sign Scott Parker. Lerner later retracted his offer. Insiders say that O’Neill asked Lerner to explain to fans about the decision, but billionaire Lerner refused. Two days later, Lerner issued a statement saying he and O’Neill “no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward”.
What should I do if I am dismissed?
In the UK, if you’re threatened with dismissal or have been dismissed from your job, you can get help from a third party to solve the issue by arbitration, conciliation or mediation. Alternatively, you can speak to your union representative if you are a member of a trade union.
The differences between unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal
Unfair dismissal claims are made when your employer does not have a good reason for dismissing you, or they have failed to follow the company’s formal disciplinary or dismissal process.
Constructive dismissal is a specific form of unfair dismissal claim. An employee can make a constructive dismissal claim on the basis outlined here: www.employmentlawfriend.co.uk/constructive-dismissal. Essentially, this is a situation wherein they resign or leave their job because they think their employer has seriously breached their employment contract, or because of their employer’s conduct.
Your dismissal in writing
If you are dismissed and have completed 2 years’ service, you have the right to a written statement from your employer stating the reasons you’ve been dismissed. If you started your job before 6 April 2012, then you need only have completed 1 years’ service. Your employer must supply the statement to you within 14 days of you asking for it.
Taking your claim further
If you have tried to appeal and now want to take matters further, you may decide to make a claim to an employment tribunal. The tribunal is independent. They will listen to you (the ‘claimant’) and the person or organisation against which you’re making a claim (the ‘respondent’). They will then make a binding decision on the case.
If you think you have been unfairly dismissed, or have grounds for a claim, seek advice.