Case of constructive dismissal, HR Management

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You are the Employee Relations Adviser at Dell Co. Ltd- a fast expanding company in Computer System and Communication.

Karen Smith a Senior Engineer has been employed in your department for ten continuous years. During her tenure she has been a model employee, although in the past two years you've observed a drop in her work performance due to lateness at work, slow to comply with instructions and frequent absences. The whole department is aware that Karen is facing many problems at home, and her co-workers have extended their help to her by completing her work as and when required, but they are now beginning to complain.

Although you had hoped that Karen's issues would improve and she would return to being the dependable employee you once knew, you must confront her about the work piling up.

When you meet her the next morning and begin the discussion about her work performance, she starts to cry and tells you that her husband has been abusive, her son is taking drugs and she has been battling alcoholism and depression. You try to help her through these issues by counselling and tendering relevant advices

You suggest to her, that, she visits the Company Industrial Psychologist, her physician and thereafter to join the workfare programme set up under the Employment Rights Act no 33 of 2008. After the end of a lengthy meeting she feels better. She requests for a week vacation leave, which you orally approve, so as she takes the road to recovery - an appropriate step to improve her situation. She leaves your office with a deep satisfaction.

To your utmost dismay, she registered a case of Constructive dismissal at the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment and she is claiming compensation as prescribed by the Employment Rights Act no.33 of 2008

(a) Was the counselling you tendered to Karen Smith appropriate? Discuss and justify your answer with relevant section of labour Law.

(b) Was there any better options? Justify your answer.

(c) Could she register a case of constructive dismissal?

(d) Could you entertain a claim of 30 days wages in lieu of notice and severance allowance for her case of constructive dismissal under the Employment Rights Act No 33 of 2008?

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