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Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer unilaterally alters a term otherwise essential to the employment contract or evinces an intention not to be bound by an essential term of the employment contract, and as a result, the employment can be deemed terminated by the courts. This is a useful tool for employees seeking relief when the substance of their role as an employee is largely altered to their dissatisfaction and without reasonable notice.

How to know if I have been constructively dismissed?

Constructive dismissal occurs in situations where the employee has not been formally terminated or fired, but rather where a term of the contract has been altered so fundamentally as to change the intent of the parties to the contract.

Constructive dismissal also occurs through the employer’s conduct, for example where an employee has been harassed, treated inappropriately and abusively, or experienced intolerable working conditions through workplace discrimination.

The changes to the contract need to be serious and cannot be minor. For example, such negative changes to the terms of the employment, made unilaterally by the employer without the employee’s consent, including changes to pay, location, responsibilities/duties, and working hours. 

How should I proceed based on my circumstances?

Before making any decisions on how to proceed, it is always best to speak to an experienced lawyer to help provide you with the right direction. When dealing with a constructive dismissal, it is important that the employee acts on these changes promptly, to ensure that their actions are not seen as “acceptance” to the changes. 

If an employee continues to report to work, without making it clear that he/she does not accept the changes to terms of employment, this can be construed as acceptance of these changes. Where an employee does not take steps to reject or oppose an amendment to the terms of employment, this may result in the employee later losing his or her right to claim constructive dismissal. Otherwise, an employee is free to end their employment and commence an action against their former employer.

How can Zeilikman Law help?

Each individual’s situation will be unique. To assess whether you have been constructively dismissed, contact one of our experienced lawyers today to set up a consultation to discuss your options and next steps.

At Zeilikman Law, we approach these issues with logical and creative solutions. Our lawyers are, professional, friendly, and determined. We have the know-how to navigate through the psychology of any given dispute. Request a consultation today!