Constructive Dismissal

female employee with a box

Has your job been forcibly changed? If yes, you may have been constructively dismissed. In Ontario, when an employee resigns because of a breach of their contract by their employer, that employer’s breach of their employment contract releases the employee from their obligation to continue working, and therefore, the employee is treated as dismissed.

Constructive dismissal can take two forms: that of a single unilateral act that breaches an essential term of the contract, or that of a series of acts that, taken together, show that the employer intended to no longer be bound by the contract.

Employers must keep in mind that temporary layoffs or wage reductions may still be a constructive dismissal at common law. Employers must also be much more careful about terminating employees who are currently on temporary lay-offs now that these employees have been granted a job-protected leave.

With respect to termination and severance pay, if an employee is laid-off for a period longer than a temporary lay-off, the employer is considered to have terminated the employee's employment and they would generally be entitled to termination pay (and in certain cases severance pay).

With respect to a constructive dismissal, an employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the Employment Standards Act if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work or wages for COVID-related reasons.

Please stay safe during this pandemic, from everyone at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP.

If you or a loved one want to know your employment rights, please contact our offices for a free consultation.
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