Constructive Dismissal Ontario
What is Constructive Dismissal?
Constructive dismissal in Ontario refers to a situation where an employee chooses to resign from their job because the changes made or requested by their employer are unfeasible or would fundamentally alter their employment. It can also arise when an employer either creates or permits a hostile or toxic work environment. In such cases, if the terms of employment are significantly altered, the law allows the employee to resign and pursue full severance pay by filing a wrongful dismissal claim. The amount of severance pay depends on several factors, including age, length of service, position, employability, and other relevant considerations.
Identifying Signs of Constructive Dismissal
Recognizing the signs of constructive dismissal is essential for employees to protect their rights and take appropriate action. Constructive dismissal can manifest in various ways, indicating a fundamental breach of the employment relationship by the employer. While specific circumstances may vary, it is important to be vigilant of certain common indicators. By being aware of these signs, employees can better identify potential instances of constructive dismissal and navigate the necessary steps to address the situation. The following are common indicators that can suggest a situation of constructive dismissal:
- Reduced compensation: Such as a significant decrease in salary or the removal of benefit entitlement.
- Demotion: For instance, being stripped of supervisory responsibilities or experiencing a change in job title that results in reporting to a previous subordinate.
- New work location: Suddenly being relocated to a different office or city, disrupting the employee’s established work environment.
- Change in shifts or work hours: Examples include shifts being modified from morning to late evening, leading to significant disruptions in the employee’s schedule.
- Toxic work environment: Experiencing discrimination, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, or facing unjustified disciplinary actions.
- Substantial increase in workload: Facing an overwhelming workload that makes it nearly impossible to fulfill caregiving obligations for dependents.
- Refusal to accommodate: Instances where the employer fails to provide necessary workplace conditions to accommodate an employee’s physical limitations or disabilities.
- Unjustified suspensions: Being placed on indefinite administrative suspension with or without pay, or facing suspension without proper procedures or explanations.
These signs can serve as indicators that constructive dismissal may be occurring, and it is important to address them appropriately.
What should I do if I believe I’ve been constructively dismissed?
If you believe you have been constructively dismissed, it is important to take proactive steps to protect your rights and seek appropriate remedies. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns due to significant changes imposed by the employer or the creation of a hostile work environment. To effectively navigate this situation, consider the following points:
- Refuse to accept the changes: Do not accept unilateral and fundamental alterations to your employment conditions or compensation without objection.
- Keep comprehensive records: Document all relevant communications, including emails, texts, or letters discussing the changes. Take detailed notes during meetings or incidents that contribute to an intolerable workplace.
- Consult an employment lawyer: Seek professional advice from an experienced employment lawyer to evaluate your case and assess the extent of the changes to your work conditions.
- Avoid premature resignation: Quitting without establishing constructive dismissal may lead to the loss of potential remedies and severance payments.
- Act promptly: Take timely action to address the changes and protect your rights. Delays in responding to significant alterations could weaken your case.
By following these steps, you can effectively address a potential constructive dismissal situation and seek the appropriate legal recourse.
What entitlements do you have if you have been constructively dismissed?
If you have been constructively dismissed, you may seek full severance pay through a wrongful dismissal claim. The amount of severance pay you are entitled to depends on various factors, including:
- The length of service.
- The character of employment.
- The age of the employee.
- The availability of similar employment, taking into account the experience, training, and qualifications of the employee.
Additionally, if constructive dismissal resulted from workplace harassment or discrimination, you may be entitled to:
- An award of human rights damages.
- Punitive damages.
These additional entitlements are available to compensate for the specific circumstances surrounding constructive dismissal cases involving workplace harassment or discrimination.
Protecting Your Rights with Toronto Constructive Dismissal Lawyers
If you require legal assistance regarding constructive dismissal in Ontario, our team of skilled Employment Lawyers is here to support you. Whether you are an employer seeking guidance on disciplinary actions or employee terminations, or an employee who believes they have been wrongfully dismissed, we have the expertise to help you navigate the complexities of the situation. Contact us at (647) 724-5179 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced constructive dismissal lawyers. We are committed to understanding your unique circumstances and providing you with comprehensive guidance throughout the process.