Constructive Dismissal Lawyers

While many people have heard the term “constructive dismissal”, it is often a misunderstood term by both employees and employers alike. Most commonly, a constructive dismissal means that by changing a fundamental aspect of your employment without your consent, an employer has terminated your employment under law, which could enable you to quit and sue as if you’ve been fired.

Constructive Dismissal Due To Unilateral Changes

If your employer has made unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of your employment, without your consent, you may have a claim for constructive dismissal.

Examples of changes an employer can make that can lead to a constructive dismissal are:

  • Changes to pay
  • Changes to work duties
  • Changes to your work hours
  • Changes to where you work
  • Changes to contractual benefits
  • Changes to your position in the company

However, every change in employment will not rise to the level of constructive dismissal. In order to successfully make a claim of constructive dismissal, you need to show that the change has altered a fundamental aspect of the terms of your employment, whether the terms are explicitly laid out in an employment contract or whether they have been implied through action or verbal agreement.

Constructive Dismissal Due To Work Environment

Another manner in which constructive dismissal can be asserted by an employee is due to the work environment.

As an employee you are entitled to work in a safe and respectful workplace. This is an implied term of the working relationship.  If an employer creates a “toxic” or hostile work environment, or allows a “toxic” or hostile work environment to exists without making reasonable attempts to change things, and employee can claim that they have been constructively dismissed as they cannot be reasonably expected to continue working in such an environment.

Examples of such work environments include:

  • Engaging in or allowing bullying
  • Engaging in or allowing discrimination
  • Demeaning an employee in front of colleagues
  • Unfair and unsubstantiated criticism of an employee
  • Failure to properly investigate grievances or allegations of improper conduct
  • Failure to provide adequate support for an employee to perform their duties

What Compensation Can I Get For My Constructive Dismissal?

If you have had to quit your employment due to a constructive dismissal you are entitled to severance. What severance you are entitled to will depend on a number of factors. If you have an employment contract that states what you are entitled to upon termination, the terms of the contract may decide the issue. However, not all employment contracts are enforceable, which is why you should always have your employment contract reviewed by an experienced employment lawyer before accepting any offer from an employer.

If you do not have an employment contract, or that contract is found to be unenforceable, then your compensation will be based on the legislated minimum entitlements and the common law.  Factors that will be considered when determining what compensation you would be entitled to include:

  • Your Salary
  • Your Age
  • Your Length of Service
  • Your Ability to Find New Employment
  • Your Benefits
  • Your Bonuses
  • Any Other Payments You Earned When Employed

The upper limit of severance payments was long thought to be 24 months’ pay, however recent case law out of the Ontario Courts has indicated that there may be a move under common law to higher amounts in specific cases.

Experienced Employment Lawyers

Each situation involving a constructive dismissal is unique, and it is important that you consult with a lawyer right away if any fundamental change happens to your employment.

Contact Taylor & Blair LLP today to set up a consultation to discuss your constructive dismissal claim.