Constructive Dismissal Lawyer
Work should be a place of productivity and enjoyment. However, sometimes an employer will make changes to your job responsibilities that go beyond what is legally acceptable.
Employees may experience working environments that are unsafe, or where there is discrimination and harassment. Worse, some employers make changes to your job with the intention of pressuring you to quit.
Examples of Constructive Dismissal
The employment lawyers at Haber Lawyers have assisted clients with numerous problems of this nature, including:
- Changes to job duties and responsibilities
- Demotions and removal of responsibilities
- Unfair changes to compensation plans
- Unpaid salary, commissions, and bonuses
- Unjustified suspensions, performance monitoring, or other discipline
- Unsafe work environments
- Human rights issues including discrimination on the basis of disability, race, gender, sexual orientation and age
- Refusals to accommodate employees with disabilities who require modifications to their job duties, training, or schedules
- Failures to provide necessary training, tools, or supports
How to Respond: Three Choices
What these examples all have in common is that they are evidence of an employer who no longer intends to honour the contract of employment. When this happens, the law provides employees with three choices:
- The employee can accept the changes imposed by the employer and continue working under the altered terms. The acceptance can be expressed (i.e. verbal or in writing), or implied (i.e. failing to complain in a timely fashion).
- The employee can reject the change, and sue the employer for damages. This is what is known as “constructive dismissal”.
- The employee can formally reject the change, but continue working and insist upon adherence to the original terms of employment. The employer must then decide whether to terminate the employee (in which case the employee is entitled to a termination package) or allow them to continue working under the original terms. However, if they allow the employee to continue working they cannot later insist upon application of the proposed change, or claim that the employee acquiesced to (reluctantly accepted) the change.
Two Forms of Constructive Dismissal
In Canada, the test for constructive dismissal has two branches. The first branch is applied to situations where there has been a single unilateral change to an essential term of the employment contract. The second branch involves situations where there has been a series of unilateral changes whereby taken together, the employer evinces an intention to no longer be bound by the contract of employment. An example of the first branch of the test would be a serious demotion or reduction in pay having an immediate detrimental effect, while an example of the second branch of the test might include a toxic work environment.
A constructive dismissal lawyer will look at the changes that have been made to your contract and working conditions, and determine if there is a situation of constructive dismissal.
When examining a constructive dismissal case, the courts will attempt to answer questions such as:
- In this situation, would a reasonable person have accepted re-employment?
- Would it have been humiliating for the employee to have stayed based on the changes?
- Is the employee faced with a situation where they have to remain in a miserable work environment?
Have you recently suffered a constructive dismissal at the hands of your employer? Speak to a constructive dismissal lawyer at Haber Lawyers today.