From Canadian Legal FAQs

What is “constructive dismissal”?

A constructive dismissal may occur when an employer makes a significant change to a fundamental term or condition of an employee’s employment without the employee’s actual or implied consent.

An employee may be constructively dismissed if the employer makes changes to the employee’s terms and conditions of employment that result in a significant reduction in salary or a significant change in such things as:

  • work location,
  • hours of work, and
  • authority or position.

Constructive dismissal may also include situations where an employer harasses or abuses an employee, or an employer gives an employee an ultimatum to “quit or be fired” and the employee resigns in response.

Constructive dismissal is a complex and difficult subject. An employee who thinks he or she may have been constructively dismissed may get some guidance by consulting the Employment Standards Telephone Counselling Service at 1.877.427.3731 (dial 780.427.3731 in Edmonton and surrounding areas).

July 2008

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