Constructive Dismissals

An employee’s resignation from a job may seem like a negative development, but it can also be an opportunity for the worker to start over. When a worker feels they have no choice but to leave due to intolerable working conditions, they can file a claim against the employer for constructive dismissal. The legal concept of constructive dismissal can be tricky to recognize, as the behaviour that typically leads up to it can occur over a prolonged period of time and may not appear severe or intolerable in isolation.

A constructive discharge occurs when an employer violates a lawful term or condition of employment and creates intolerable working conditions that force the employee to quit, according to Canadian courts. The termination is deemed wrongful as it is not explicit and the employer did not expressly say they were terminating the employee or offer them any notice or compensation in lieu of notice. The complainant can also use a pattern of incidents to prove they have been constructively dismissed.

If the employee’s work environment is intolerable, they must have tried to discuss the issue with their employer and seek help to remedy the situation before resigning. Documenting all the incidents that led to the intolerable workplace and mentioning them in any subsequent conversations with their employer can help support their claim for constructive dismissal if they decide to take further action.

What Are Constructive Dismissals?

An untenable work environment can be caused by many things, including not having enough tools or training to perform your responsibilities efficiently and effectively. It is important to raise these concerns with your supervisor and HR department as soon as possible and formally request additional resources and support before deciding to resign. Documenting each incident and the dates, times and names of those involved can be helpful if you want to make a constructive dismissal claim.

Your supervisor or HR representative should be able to help you find solutions to the problem that are not a breach of your employment contract. If you feel you cannot do this, you should consider seeking advice from a legal professional. The window of time in which you can file a claim for constructive dismissal varies by jurisdiction and the nature of your work, so it is important to seek advice as early as possible.

If you’re a manager looking to hire the best candidates for your business, you should be aware of the potential risks that can come from an intolerable working environment. By ensuring your employees are able to succeed in their roles and have the tools they need to do their jobs, you can avoid constructive dismissal claims and prevent your team from turning against each other. David Garcia is the co-founder and CEO of ScoutLogic, an industry leader in bulk background checks and a recognized expert in the human resources sphere, specifically hiring, HR compliance, safety, recruitment, and more. His strategic acumen and expertise are invaluable assets to the company, helping it stay at the forefront of the bulk background check world.

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