As an employee, you may be deemed in law to be constructively dismissed when an employer has not directly fired you but has failed to comply with fundamental terms of your contract of employment. Constructive dismissal also takes place when an employer unilaterally and substantially changes the terms of employment without the employee’s actual or implied consent or expresses/implies an intention to make either of these changes thus forcing you the employee to quit.
It is important to note that a single unilateral act by the employer that breaches an essential term of an employee’s employment contract or a series of acts by the employer that, taken together, show the employer no longer intends to be bound by the employment contract will constitute a constructive dismissal.
Signs of Constructive Dismissal include but are not limited to:
- Reduction or elimination of compensation such as salary, bonuses, commissions, benefits, or pension entitlements.
- Transfer to new work or business location, such as where an employee has been working in an employer’s Mississauga office for 15 years and they are suddenly relocated to British Columbia.
- Temporary lay-off that falls short of the Employment Standards Act requirements to temporarily lay off an employee.
- Being required to work in a ‘poisoned’ or toxic work environment such as a situation where employees face discrimination or are subject to bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, or unjustified discipline. If you are subject to this treatment, you can sue your employer for damages under a claim of constructive dismissal.
- Demotion such as where an employee’s responsibility is reduced, or is placed in a substantially different position; for example, the employees title is changed from Manager to Office Administrator.
- Unjustified suspensions such as where an employee is put on an indefinite administrative suspension with pay or is suspended with or without pay in the absence of proper procedures and explanations.
- Shift or scheduling change or substantial increase of workload that cause significant hardship, such as to childcare and other family obligations, religious beliefs, or otherwise has a substantial impact on either personal or work life, or both, to the extent they are unfair or unreasonable.
- Refusal to accommodate such as if the employee breaks their arm or has a disability and the employer refuses to provide them with modified duties or workplace conditions to help the employee fulfill their tasks.
Unsure of whether you have been constructively dismissed? Call Mackenzie Law today for a free consultation.