On January 1st, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario jumped $2.40 to an even $14. Along with a raise to the hourly wage, workers are also to receive benefits like emergency leave and other forms of protected leave – all guaranteed under new legislation. In reaction to the increase in minimum wage, some Tim Hortons franchisees have cut paid breaks and reduced employee benefits.
Under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, Tim Hortons is not required to give employees paid breaks. However, because employees had paid breaks, they have become part of the contract of their employment with Tim Hortons. By taking away what was once expected by employees, Tim Hortons has breached a term of their employment contract if the parties did not turn their minds to such a possibility when these employees were first hired.
In employment law, substantial changes to the employment contract may be grounds for a constructive dismissal. A constructive dismissal occurs when an employee experiences a fundamental change to their employment contract. Grounds for constructive dismissal depend on the significance of the changes to the employment contract and whether these changes were substantial enough to warrant a determination that a breach took place.
If you are an employee and feel that your contract of employment has been breached, consider the significance of these changes. If the changes are considerable, contact an employment lawyer to discuss your rights and whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Before making changes to an employment contract, employers should always speak to an employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can assist you in minimizing liability in potential claims of constructive dismissal.