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    Constructive Dismissal

    Has your employer unilaterally changed terms of your employment contract? Have you felt pressure to resign because sexual harassment or bullying has made your workplace intolerable? Do you feel like you’re being forced to accept reduced hours or reduced compensation?

    If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, take note: Each of these situations represents a breach of your employment contract, and may be considered a constructive dismissal. If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation in the form of a severance package from your employer.

    JPAK Employment Lawyers specialize in constructive dismissal law. We fiercely represent clients who have had their employment rights infringed to receive the compensation to which they are entitled.

    If you believe you are dealing with a constructive dismissal case, our experienced legal team will review the merits of your constructive dismissal claim, determine the amount of compensation you should be entitled to receive, and help devise a legal strategy that both protects your rights and defends your interests.

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    What is a Constructive Dismissal?

    A constructive dismissal occurs when an employer creates a situation in which an employee feels forced out of their job. While the employer has not formally dismissed the employee, the employer’s actions in essence, amount to a repudiation of the employment contract.

    Constructive dismissal can occur if the employer imposes a fundamental change to terms or conditions of employment without the employee’s consent.

    Also, a constructive dismissal may arise when the employee feels unable to continue their employment due to a poisoned work environment. This can stem from discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, or other bad faith conduct occurring in the workplace.

    Employment Relationship Considerations

    Not every change to working conditions give rise to a constructive dismissal claim. Workplaces are not static environments. Workplaces change, and employers can make minor changes to the employment relationship.

    If an employee does not like certain changes made by his or her employer, it does not automatically mean that they have been constructively dismissed. It is only when the change (or series of changes) is unilateral and fundamental in nature, that a constructive dismissal occurs.

    Claiming Constructive Dismissal

    Under common law, constructive dismissal claims are not based on the employee’s subjective feelings about the workplace situation. A constructive dismissal analysis is based on a reasonable, objective evaluation of the situation.

    If an employer fails to live up to their fundamental contractual obligations, viewed objectively, the employee can resign and claim constructive dismissal damages.

    If an employer decides to unilaterally change working terms and conditions, the employee should indicate that they do not accept these changes within a relatively short notice period, otherwise through the passage of time or through their silence, they may be viewed has having implicitly accepted or condoned the changes. In other words, if an employee carries on working without protest, despite fundamental changes to their job, they may be deemed to have accepted the changes.

    Constructive Dismissal Claim Examples

    The most common situations that trigger constructive dismissal claims include, but are not limited to::

    • Reduction of an employee’s compensation or benefits
    • Changes in duties or responsibilities (i.e. a demotion)
    • Bullying, workplace harassment, intimidation, or other bad faith conduct
    • Forced leave of absence or suspension
    • Temporary layoff
    • Unfair, tainted or prolonged workplace investigation;
    • Unfounded or false allegations of wrongdoing
    • Discrimination in the workplace

    JPAK Employment Law – Constructive Dismissal Lawyers

    If your employer tries to make unfair changes to your working conditions or employment contract, know that you have the right to refuse.

    It is important to note that the employee bears the onus of proving a constructive dismissal. To effectively demonstrate a constructive dismissal, employees should compile as much evidence as possible, including notices, emails or other communications from superiors or human resource representatives, witness statements, as well as notes on any meetings of discussion held with their employer.

    Seeking legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer is the best way to get a full understanding of your employment rights and decide on the best course of action to pursue financial remedies and safeguard your career and reputation. If you believe you have been constructively dismissed, contact JPAK Employment Lawyers today.

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