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Constructive Dismissal
For Employers

For Employers

Although constructive dismissal may not be the foremost concern for employers in BC, you should still take it into account. Employees are the most important factor in any business’s success. Not only do happy employees help grow a company’s revenue, they also have the power to elevate its brand reputation, which helps attract high-end talent in the future.

On the other hand, disputes over changes in terms of employment and whether a constructive dismissal has occurred can lead to complex legal battles, high litigation costs and a damaged reputation. The reality is that most of the time, these employee disputes can be avoided. Having the right documentation and processes in place can help you avoid court visits so you can focus on what really matters.

What is Constructive Dismissal in BC

In BC and Canada in general, constructive dismissal refers to the situation where an employer makes one or more significant changes (whether intentional or not) to 

the material or core employment terms without the employee’s agreement and without sufficient notice. This situation can effectively be deemed at law to be a dismissal and often results in the loss of a useful and productive team member.

From the employee’s perspective, they were basically required by the employer to accept unsatisfactory and significantly different employment terms (financial or otherwise). This may result in the employee being required to leave employment and claim constructive dismissal if the employer does not correct the situation. As an employer, you should be aware of the factor’s employees may deem as a significant change. These changes often include significant reductions in salary, wages and/or commission structures, demotion, changes in responsibility and managerial capacity, unsafe working conditions, change in work location and more.

How Does the Situation Arise?

As the employer, you never intend for these things to happen. But in the eyes of the BC government, that doesn’t matter. Here are some examples of how a case of constructive dismissal may arise. 

Lack of Communication

Communication is an important aspect in nearly every walk of life. This is especially true when it comes to communicating with employees, as an employer. As is frequent with larger organizations, only upper management will discuss potential organizational changes. The final decision will simply be passed down to the rest of the company.

Sometimes, employees aren’t made aware of these decisions at all and they don’t find out about the changes until they are happening. This situation has the potential to be damaging in many ways. Not only to employee morale, but it can lead to job dissatisfaction and inevitably, constructive dismissal. 

Not Consulting With a BC Lawyer

Oftentimes a company will let an employee go only to get a letter a few weeks later letting them know that unless severance is paid or the dismissal damages are accounted for, the former employee will sue for damages. Consulting a lawyer is crucial in these situations. They will help you along this process and ensure everything is done by the letter of the law. A lawyer can advise you through this difficult process and help find the optimal solution. This way you can avoid legal battles in the future and improve company employment practices.

Sometimes It’s The Employee

Sometimes it’s not you; it’s them. If you have a new employee that has been terminated from three other jobs in the past six months, then maybe your company is not the problem. At times, an individual’s work history may reveal a recurring pattern of substandard performance or negative reputation that ultimately leads to their termination. Additionally, there are those in the workforce who may be deceitful opportunists seeking to swindle the system and profit from governmental aid.

How Can Employers Prevent Constructive Dismissal

The termination process can weigh heavily on both employee and employer. But the truth is, many of these conflicts can be avoided. These issues don’t always have to end up in court. Here are a few ways that, as an employer, you can avoid constructive dismissal in BC.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagements can come in many forms. In terms of constructive dismissal, it’s important for employees to have a seat at the table when the company is making potentially drastic changes. Through this open communication channel, employees are granted a voice that enables them to provide valuable insight into the organizational structure and different roles within the company. This enables employers to make informed decisions that will ultimately benefit all stakeholders within the company.

Conflict Resolution

At Ascent Employment Law, we have seen it all. Our extensive knowledge and expertise in all things workplace law related have shown us that many of these situations can be avoided and resolved through mediation. There is a common belief that once a termination situation arises, all hope is lost, and resorting to litigation is the only course of action. However, we only practice workplace law and are knowledgeable counsel and also offer mediation assistance. We know what it will take to put you in the best position to reach a good resolution for all involved. We want to work with both sides to navigate through the intricacies of the situation and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

Having the Right Documentation and Processes

If your organization has well-crafted and comprehensive process documentation, that goes a long way. The right lawyers will help you document the hiring process, compensation arrangements, agreement alteration process, steps for conflict resolution and more. The goal is to leave no stone unturned, and have all of the answers when potential employment conflicts arise.

Employment Lawyer Vancouver

In order to properly handle constructive dismissal in BC, you need the right counsel who will guide you from start to finish unflinchingly. Ascent Employment Law practices exclusively in the area of workplace law and we have decades of experience in all aspects of workplace law. Our goal is to make BC the best place to work and do business. We do this by bridging the gap between employers and employees, improving communication between parties. We ensure employers are taking the correct steps in its hiring and employment processes. Contact us today! And let’s make yours a better place to work!

The right team, dedicated to your success