Sometimes, employers fail to terminate an employee in the right way with reasonable notice or severance pay.
Instead, they change the terms or conditions of employment to such a degree that it makes it difficult for the employee to stay on.
If this has happened in your case, you may be a victim of constructive dismissal.
You do not have to suffer this in silence. It may be possible to file a wrongful dismissal claim and seek compensation for your losses.
Speak to the experienced employment lawyers at Taylor Janis in Kamloops, BC to find out whether you have a constructive dismissal claim.
WHAT IS CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL IN BC?
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer unilaterally changes the terms of an employment contract in such a substantial way that it affects the employee’s earning ability, ability to do their job or their working environment.
It can be a sudden change (like a reduction in salary or demotion) or a gradual process over weeks or months (like slowly turning a work environment toxic for an employee).
Often, these changes make it almost impossible for the employee to continue working in the position – leading to their resignation.
Constructive dismissal, whether intentional or unintentional, can “force” an employee out. This is unlawful according to both the
Employment Standards for B.C and the Canada Labour Code.
WHO DO CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL LAWS APPLY TO?
The BC Employment Standards Act applies whether you are employed in a full-time, part-time, temporary or permanent role anywhere in BC.
The laws cover most workers in BC, except:
Those who work as independent contractors
Those who work in a federally-regulated workplace
Those who work in certain licensed professions
Students, babysitters or those enrolled in certain government-incentive programs
Union members (who have collective agreements in place)
Those in management positions
The law entitles you to the minimum notice period or
severance pay if your employer substantially changes your employment terms or conditions without your approval.
Effectively, you are considered as a terminated employee if this happens.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL IN BC?
If you’re based in the Kamloops area of BC and think you may have been the victim of constructive dismissal by your employer, help is at hand.
The laws protect you. You may be able to claim that your position became untenable and you were effectively terminated without cause.
Our employment lawyers are experienced in representing employees in wrongful dismissal cases, often helping them
claim complete severance packages as compensation for their losses.
Because of the complexities of the laws and the high burden of proof, it can be extremely challenging to organize this without the assistance of an experienced employment lawyer.
CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL EXAMPLES IN BC
If your employer changes your work hours slightly because of a genuine need to do so, this is not sufficient grounds for a constructive dismissal claim.
Small changes to employment terms are normal. A pattern of small changes or significant material changes are not normal or reasonable.
As such, if your employer does any of the following, you may have a constructive dismissal claim:
Reduces your salary, commissions, pensions, benefits or bonuses without warning or prior discussion
Demotes you without a good reason
Changes your job title without prior agreement
Increases your work hours or changes your shift without prior discussion or agreement
Makes it impossible for you to fulfill the obligations that your role demands
Encourages harassment, discrimination or abusive behaviour towards you by others
Offers you the choice between accepting a major change to your employment or termination
IF YOU CONTINUE WORKING WITHOUT OBJECTING, CAN YOU MAKE A CLAIM LATER?
If your employer makes material changes to your position that you do not object to, you are seen as condoning these changes.
As such, you may not be eligible for a constructive dismissal claim.
This does not necessarily mean you should immediately resign but it does mean that it is best to consult as soon as possible with a qualified employment lawyer, who can advise you of your options.
HOW CAN EMPLOYERS AVOID A CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL CLAIM IN BC?
If you’re an employer and you are considering altering an employee contract, you should protect yourself by taking some steps to comply with the BC employment laws.
The primary concern is providing adequate warning of the changes and, if applicable and possible, offering alternative employment to employees adversely affected by the changes.
Consider doing the following:
Studying the employment laws so that you understand what is acceptable practice and what is not
Learning the required notice periods required for terminating employees
Providing adequate written notice to employees of any material changes to employment conditions or their role
Providing an implementation date for intended changes to take effect
Offering alternative roles within the organization, if appropriate to do so
Including clear terms of employment and notice period guidelines in future employment contracts
By following the above steps, employers can avoid constructive dismissal claims from employees who feel they have been forced out.
ARE YOU THE VICTIM OF CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL IN BC?
If you feel that your employer has, either intentionally or unintentionally, made your position untenable, you may have a claim for
In such claims, you do not need to prove intent – only that the steps taken by your employer were made without reasonable notice and that they substantially changed your conditions of employment.
The employment lawyers at Taylor Janis in Kamloops can help you claim severance pay and recover the lost wages and benefits that you should have received if you had received appropriate notice.
The process is not as simple as calculating how much you are owed based on length of service. Other factors come into the equation, such as your age, position, future employability, and so on.
A suitably qualified and experienced employment lawyer will be able to help you recover what you are really owed.
Start with a confidential 30-minute telephone or video consultation, during which one of our employment lawyers can advise you of your options.
Call us now to book an initial consultation: