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What if my employer forces me to leave my job?

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What if my employer forces me to leave my job?
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Ministry of the Attorney General

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What if my employer forces me to leave my job?
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Reviewed: 
September 4, 2020
Answer

Ontario has changed the way that constructive dismissal works during COVID-19. You cannot complain about constructive dismissal under the Employment Standards Act if your wages or hours changed because of COVID-19 between March 1 and January, 2 2020. This only applies to constructive dismissal under the ESA. You can still go to court to claim constructive dismissal.

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.

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