Constructive Dismissal: What it is and How it Works

Constructive Dismissal

If your employer is behaving inappropriately, and you feel you can no longer continue to work under those conditions, there may be grounds for filing a constructive dismissal claim. However, it’s important to understand what the term means and how it works before taking action, especially in non-unionized workplaces where wrongful termination can have serious consequences for both employee’s short and long-term employment prospects.

In short, the definition of constructive dismissal is a situation where an employer breaches the implied contract in an employee’s employment contract by creating intolerable working conditions that render the position impossible to continue to perform. While this is a very general definition, there are several specific types of behaviour that can qualify as constructive dismissal. These include significant changes to an employee’s work environment, excessive or unreasonable demands on an employee, and discrimination in the workplace.

Consider the following scenario for example: Jane worked as a sales representative in a marketing firm for three years. She took pride in her job and dedicated time and effort to carrying out her responsibilities, but things started to change when her manager began berating her and making derogatory comments about her performance. The criticism grew into a regular occurrence and it became difficult for her to concentrate on her work, which ultimately led to her resignation from the company.

Constructive Dismissal: What it is and How it Works

An employer may also be liable for constructive dismissal if they significantly alter an employee’s established job duties. This could include moving an employee to a different workspace without justification or significantly reducing an employee’s compensation. This type of behaviour can be difficult to prove, however, as it is often subtle and can have many underlying causes.

The most common form of unfair treatment is when management members act aggressively towards an employee. This can come in the form of singling out an individual with constant criticism at staff meetings, publicly criticizing them in front of their coworkers or insinuating that they are less competent than others. This type of behaviour is considered bullying, harassment or discrimination and it can be grounds for constructive dismissal lawyer.

Another common scenario is when an employer demands a significant amount of work from an employee without providing them with adequate resources or support. For example, a boss may require employees to meet certain sales targets while failing to provide adequate training and support. This can lead to stress, exhaustion and even illness if it goes on for too long.

Constructive dismissal claims are extremely challenging to win. Only about 5% of employees that file a claim with an employment tribunal are successful in obtaining compensation. It’s therefore essential to understand what the requirements are for a successful claim and to have physical and factual evidence at hand to back up your case. If you need help with a constructive dismissal claim, contact Achkar Law to schedule a consultation with our experienced Toronto employment lawyer. We can help you identify the signs of unfair treatment and determine if you have a valid claim for constructive dismissal.

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