We are often asked the question: “can I sue my former employer for constructive dismissal?” The answer is maybe. A new Court of Appeal decision confirms that whatever change in working conditions that occurred, it must be the reason you quit. Otherwise, you are out of luck.
What is Constructive Dismissal?
Generally, constructive dismissal is when your employer makes a significant change to your employment that shows it no longer wants to be bound by your contract. This could include lowering your pay, a demotion, or suspension. For more examples about the kind of actions that could be constructive dismissal keep reading here.
In Persaud v. Telus Corporation, Telus increased Ms. Persaud’s working hours and one of her co-worker’s accused her of sabotaging a project.
In addition to these problems, Ms. Persaud was dissatisfied with the management of Telus, unhappy with the direction the company was taking, critical of the performance evaluation structure, and particularly unhappy with Telus’ treatment of her friend and mentor.
The Superior Court found that she did not quit because of increased hours or a poisoned work atmosphere but because of these other concerns. The Court of Appeal agreed.
They also found that after the changes in working hours, Ms. Persaud continued to work without objecting. The court found that she implicitly accepted the change.
Both courts denied Ms. Persaud any damages.
To determine whether you have been constructively dismissed a lawyer needs to carefully review the facts of your case. Constructive dismissal cases can be more complicated and risky than wrongful dismissal. You need to get good advice and timing is important. You need to decide whether to take a legal step quickly.
If you are thinking about resigning, or have already quit, and would like to speak to an employment lawyer at the MacLeod Law Firm, you can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.
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Over the past few months, we have received many questions from concerned employees about changes to their jobs. Some have experienced reductions in hours, others have had their pay cut, others are being asked to complete new or different tasks.