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Saunders v DWP CSA - "Last straw" need not itself be pleaded as repudiatory breach: it must be added to previous acts to see overall effect [2009] EAT

In the context of deciding whether a resignation amounts to constructive unfair dismissal, if a "last straw" was an act of discrimination it is likely to have a powerful effect when added to previous conduct

Mrs Saunders, who had worked for DWP for 27 years, was disabled. She worked from home much of the time. DWP decided to end home-working and, having considered various options with her, it gave her shorter notice of this than it did other home workers. An employment tribunal found that this was disability discrimination. Having resigned, Mrs Saunders also claimed constructive unfair dismissal. However the tribunal dismissed her claim. It held that her complaints of how DWP had previously treated her were not enough to amount to conduct calculated to destroy or seriously damage the employment relationship; accordingly, it said, although the short notice of termination of home working was the "final straw" that did not breach an express term and was not relied on as a fundamental breach. Accordingly Mrs Saunders had not made out her claim.

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