What is a constructive dismissal?
A constructive dismissal occurs when you are allowed to treat yourself as dismissed, even though your employer has not formally fired you. This situation arises as a result of adverse changes made to your job you have not condoned and have not consented to. In this scenario, you may be able to leave work and make a claim for compensation.
When does a constructive dismissal arise?
The types of changes that may amount to a constructive dismissal are broad and include any type of negative situation that was imposed by your employer. This generally includes:
- Reduction in pay;
- Hostile and poisoned work environment;
- Diminished duties;
- Loss of authority and status;
- Being “pushed out”
- Changed location of work;
- Bad faith performance assessments;
- Unjust bonuses;
For a constructive dismissal to arise, the changes imposed by your employer must be significant and objective, not simply perceived. For example, a minor change in compensation or a reshuffling of your department does not necessarily lead to a constructive dismissal. Each situation must be assessed having regard to all relevant circumstances. This is why it’s important to seek the advice of an expert.
What if you’re not prepared to leave and pursue damages?
This is one of the trickier scenarios in a situation where your job or pay has significantly changed, as sometimes leaving your employer may not make sense for you. While leaving your job and seeking compensation is the most likely course of action, it is not your only choice. It is still possible to pursue certain remedies, including compensation or putting pressure on your employer to stop taking whatever action is making your job difficult to perform.
When do you need a lawyer?
You should consult with an experienced employment lawyer as soon as the changes to your job occur. The law provides you with a reasonable period of time after those changes occur to make your case. Otherwise, you can be deemed as having “condoned” the changes, which basically means you accepted them by virtue of your inaction.
In addition, the key issue in most cases of a potential constructive dismissal is whether you should leave your job. This mostly depends on the strength of your potential claim. A lawyer with experience in this area can quickly see the nuances of the situation and provide the proper strategic advice.
It is a big mistake to think that any change to your job will always mean you have the right to leave and sue. If you are wrong, it will be viewed as a simple resignation rather than a dismissal, and you may be left with nothing more than legal bills. This is another reason why you should not leave your case to chance – call the lawyers with experience and expertise.
Whitten & Lublin Employment & Labour Lawyers routinely handle constructive dismissal matters. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel that you may need advice concerning a constructive dismissal, don’t settle for less. Contact Whitten & Lublin’s constructive dismissal lawyers for a legal consultation online or by phone.