Toronto Constructive Dismissal Lawyer

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer makes a unilateral change to the employer-employee relationship outside the scope of the original employment contract. When an employer changes a fundamental aspect of the original agreement without the employee’s consent, it may be considered a form of termination. A finding of constructive dismissal imposes liability on the employer for termination pay, even if the employee resigns voluntarily. Employees are strongly advised to speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer to assess a potential constructive dismissal claim before resigning, to ensure they are well-positioned to bring a successful claim against their employer.

At Haynes Law Firm in Toronto, our team helps constructively dismissed employees assert their rights and realize the remedies owed to them. Our firm’s founder, Paulette Haynes, has been successfully representing both employers and employees in termination disputes for nearly 30 years. Her experience representing and challenging employers in constructive dismissal claims enables her to anticipate an employer’s position and counter it effectively.

If you believe your employer has imposed a fundamental change to your employment, you may have been constructively dismissed. To avoid jeopardizing your claim, contact Haynes Law Firm as soon as possible. Paulette and her team will advise you on the viability of your claim and guide you through the process to ensure you are appropriately compensated.

What is Constructive Dismissal?

Significant and Unilateral Changes to the Employment Relationship

Changes within the workplace are commonplace, but not all changes are created equal. Many changes are, or should be, expected and have little to no impact on employees. For example, employees can expect to have their computers updated or replaced every few years. It may cause some minor inconvenience but has minimal impact otherwise. However, some changes are unexpected and have a drastic and negative impact on employees. Significant changes that affect an employee’s daily life, salary, or job expectations may qualify as constructive dismissal and give rise to a claim.

To meet the threshold for constructive dismissal, the change must be:

  1. Significant – affecting a fundamental aspect of the role; and
  2. Unilateral – a change made without the employee’s input or consent.

Change that dramatically impacts the employee’s role, the working environment, or employee entitlements is considered to be significant and fundamental. Examples of significant changes include:

  • Changes to the time and/or place of work, such as relocating an employee to a new city, or changing an employee’s shift from day to night. In contrast, moving a start time by 30 minutes would likely not trigger a claim.
  • A significant reduction in salary or other compensation, such as bonus entitlements or commission, can drastically impact an employee’s annual take-home pay.
  • Placing an employee on a temporary layoff unless this possibility is explicitly indicated in the employment contract.
  • A demotion in title or role.

A Toxic or Poisoned Work Environment

Constructive dismissal can also occur when a workplace becomes toxic or poisoned for one or more employees. A workplace is considered toxic if employees are subjected to harassment, discrimination, or unwarranted disciplinary procedures. In particularly egregious cases, a single incident of harassment or violence may be sufficient to trigger a valid claim for constructive dismissal.

Avoid Making Hasty Decisions if You Suspect Constructive Dismissal

If your employer has made changes to the terms of your employment that are consistent with constructive dismissal, it’s essential to take steps quickly to preserve your claim. If you fail to resign within a reasonable time, a court may view your inaction as passive acceptance of the circumstances.

If you suspect you’ve been constructively dismissed, do not resign before speaking with our team. Paulette will review the particulars of your situation, examine the terms of your written and/or verbal employment agreement, and flag potential issues. If your situation warrants a constructive dismissal claim, Paulette and her team will guide you through the process, assist with your resignation, and file a claim against your employer.

Haynes Law Firm provides elite representation and skilled advocacy for employees. Small and mighty, our firm effectively levels the playing field for employees by offering the same quality, clout, and resources as a large firm with the service, support, and value of a boutique firm. Paulette’s extensive experience, vast knowledge, and commanding courtroom presence make her a formidable opponent and puts employees on equal footing with their deep-pocketed employers.

Remedies for Constructive Dismissal

The remedies for a successful claim for constructive dismissal are essentially the same as the remedies for a wrongful dismissal claim. Typically, constructively dismissed employees are entitled to pay in place of reasonable notice and severance pay, if applicable and warranted. Employees may also be entitled to retain benefits for the duration of the reasonable notice period and unpaid compensation, such as bonuses or commission.

Contact Haynes Law Firm in Toronto for Employee Constructive Dismissal Claims

Haynes Law Firm helps employees seek appropriate remedies for constructive dismissal. Toronto employment lawyer Paulette Haynes and her team of employment professionals will advise whether you have a valid claim before you resign. Paulette’s in-depth experience litigating constructive dismissal claims makes her an extremely effective advocate on behalf of her employee clients. To discuss how the team at Haynes Law Firm can help you, contact us online, or call us by phone at 416-593-2731.