What if my employer forces me to leave my job?Updated June 22

Ontario has changed the way that constructive dismissal works during COVID-19. You cannot claim under the (ESA) if your employer reduced your or hours because of COVID-19 between May 29, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

But you can make an ESA claim if the changes happened because of COVID-19 before May 29, 2020 and you quit your job over these changes before that day. This new rule might not affect your right to go to court to claim constructive dismissal. This is a complicated area of law. It’s a good idea to get legal advice.

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 or .

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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