Constructive Dismissal

What is a constructive dismissal?

A wrongful dismissal can also occur if your employer makes fundamental changes to the terms of your employment without your consent. An example of a fundamental breach may include a job reassignment or a salary reduction, or if your working conditions become intolerable due to improper treatment, such as harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination or bullying.

This is known as “constructive dismissal” because if your employer has not actually fired you then your dismissal must be “constructed” from the particular facts of your case.

This is a form of wrongful dismissal that can be inferred by the actions of the employer. It is usually caused by a change in the employment relationship imposed by the employer without your consent. It can be difficult to prove a constructive dismissal has occurred. The employer must have shown intention to no longer be bound by the employment contract.

The actions of the employer may give rise to a fundamental breach of the contract of employment

Specifically, there must be a unilateral and fundamental breach of the terms of employment with the employee. There are many examples of actions by the employer which have been treated as constructive dismissals. Some examples may include decreasing pay for the same number of hours worked or increasing the number of hours worked without increasing pay.

Another example is the employer unilaterally changing your work duties such that you are no longer doing what was initially agreed upon. Some employers do this by making an employee do demeaning and “lower level” work in an attempt to humiliate and cause embarrassment.

Constructive dismissal is an important concept as it can be used by hostile employer to induce you to resign. In some cases the breach by the employer may entitle you to claim what you would have been entitled to if you had been formally dismissed. If you suspect that your relationship with your employer has been altered by the employer over time so as to amount to a constructive dismissal it is important to seek legal advice before taking any action against your employer.

The information on this website is for informative purposes only. It is not legal advice. A lawyer can only be retained after a consultation. If you need a wrongful dismissal lawyer or if you have any other employment law issues, call me at: 416 323 3614