Was your Suspension a Constructive Dismissal?
Employees today spend as much time at work as they do at home. So, the workplace should be an environment where you feel secure, trusted and safe. Unexpected changes in your job, such as a suspension, can leave you feeling confused, frustrated and unsure of where you stand. Your employer has a duty to abide by the contract, policies and/or handbook that you have signed. A suspension without pay may be a constructive dismissal unless you have agreed to this kind of discipline in an employment contract or policy. This was recently highlighted by the Court of Appeal in Filice v. Complex Services Inc about suspension and constructive dismissal.
Mr. Filice worked for a casino run by Complex Service Inc. as a Security Shift Supervisor. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario audited the casino and discovered inconsistencies in entries made by Mr. Flice. Mr. Filce was then investigated by police and Complex placed him on an unpaid suspension.
Mr. Filice’s suspension lasted 17 months. During this time he was charged with theft, but never convicted. However, because he lost his gaming license, after the unpaid suspension, Complex terminated Mr. Flice’s employment.
Mr. Filice sued for constructive dismissal arguing that Complex had no right to suspend him without pay. The Superior agreed and awarded him pay for the 17 months he missed during the suspension and $100,000 in punitive damages.
Complex appealed. However, the Court of Appeal agreed that Complex did not have the right to suspend Mr. Filice without pay in his employment contract or handbook. Doing so, was a constructive dismissal. However, the Court of Appeal did reduce his damages.
Lessons For Employees
- Read and understand your employment contract and employment policies or handbooks. These policies can take away your rights, or give your employer rights such as the ability to suspend you without pay.
- If you are suspended, get legal advice. Your employer may not be allowed to do so, and you may be able to get compensation or get back to work sooner.
If you have questions about suspensions or constructive dismissal and would like more information, you can contact Barrie and Toronto Employment lawyer, Nicole Simes, at MacLeod Law Firm. You can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.
Read our other blogs about suspension and constructive dismissal.
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