Employment Law

What is a constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is the legal term used when an employer imposes a fundamental or significant change to an employee’s job.  This change must be a substantial departure from the employee’s previous job.  In these cases, employees may be able to leave work and treat themselves as fired and then sue for lost wages and damages while looking for another job.

The types of changes that can amount to a constructive dismissal include some of the following issues:

  • Employer reduces your pay
  • Unreasonable change of location for work
  • Unwelcome increase or change of hours
  • Reduction in status and responsibilities
  • Demotion
  • Unwelcome working conditions due to bullying, harassment (sexual or otherwise) or discrimination

You may have the legal right to leave work and start a lawsuit. You could also potentially force your employer to restore the conditions of your job or consider an beneficial exit strategy.

Wrongful Dismissal in Non-Unionized Work Environments

An employer is permitted to terminate employees from their job provided they give an advanced warning or payment of wages.

An employee is wrongfully dismissed when an employer terminates the employee without notice of termination or a fair payment in lieu of notice. The most common issue in dismissal cases is the amount of notice or pay in lieu of notice that an employee is entitled to.  There are a wide range of factors that need to be considered.  These factors include such things as an employee’s salary, age, tenure and entitlement to all non-discretionary payments that he/she earned while employed.

Reasonable Notice and Severance Packages

Generally, all non-unionized employees who are dismissed without cause are entitled to notice of that termination or pay in place of notice. If you have been dismissed without cause you will usually be provided with a written termination letter setting out an offer of severance that the employer is prepared to pay.  The employer will typically require you to sign a release.

Unfortunately, a great many employers do not offer fair severance packages.  They try to dismiss their employees without paying them proper severance packages.  In many of these cases, employers offer a less than reasonable amount based on the assumption that many of their employees will simply accept whatever they are offered without getting any legal advice.  Do not let this happen to you.   We will let you know whether you severance package is reasonable, or not.

Human Rights and Discrimination

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work, you have the right to file a complaint with the appropriate human rights tribunal.  The types of areas where you may experience discrimination may include some of the following areas:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotional decisions
  • Harassment – sexual or otherwise
  • Accommodation of disabilities or illnesses
  • Religious accommodation

These types of discrimination can relate to a variety of causes.    Some of the typical causes of discrimination often include some of the following:

  • Race and/or place of origin
  • Colour and/or ethnic origin
  • Citizenship
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Record of offences
  • Marital and/or family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Mental or physical disability

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you in any manner, you are well within your legal rights to address the issue directly. We will provide you the necessary advise as to whether you have a reasonable case to bring forward.

Employment Law Lawyers
View ProfileAyren BrownView ProfileRobert W. VitolsView ProfileBarry Fick