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What if my employer forces me to leave my job?

Question
What if my employer forces me to leave my job?

Glossary

Clear language definitions to common legal terms. 

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Reviewed: 
September, 2015
Answer

Sometimes being forced out of a job is the same as being fired. The law calls this constructive dismissal.

Constructive dismissal happens when your employer does something that:

  • changes things at work for you in a major way,
  • is not something you should have expected, and
  • you don’t agree to or accept it.

When this happens, it's like you've been fired. So if you leave the job, you have the same rights as if you were fired. This includes the right to termination pay or pay in lieu of notice.

Changes that won't be constructive dismissal

Employers can make a lot of changes that are not constructive dismissal. Some changes are not significant enough. For example, your employer might have the right to ask you to work at a different location in the same city.

Some changes might be about things you already agreed could change. For example, your employer might have told you before you were hired that they might change your work schedule.

The law about what is and what isn't constructive dismissal is very complicated. A lot depends on the details of your situation. It's important to get legal advice.

Changes that might be constructive dismissal

Here are some examples of things that might be serious enough that it would be like getting fired:

  • Your employer lowers your wages by a lot or refuses to pay you what they owe you.
  • Your employer takes away core responsibilities and lowers your position. For example, you are no longer a supervisor and are doing the work you used to supervise others to do.
  • Your employer abuses you, harasses you, or discriminates against you in a way that goes against your human rights

The law about what is and what isn't constructive dismissal is very complicated. A lot depends on the details of your situation. It's important to get legal advice right away.

Learn more about this topic
Community Legal Clinic - Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Workers' Action Centre

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