How Your Office Location Determines Your Career Future!

How Your Office Location Determines Your Career Future!

Does return-to-office policies agreement specify my work location options?

Dell made waves when it announced that career advancement was going to be contingent on employees being hybrid; fully remote workers need not apply. It raises the question of whether employers in Ontario have a right to effectively force employees to return to office if they want to be eligible for promotions.

The terms of your employment agreement are important in determining the options available to you. Unless the contract clearly states otherwise, employees usually do not have the ability to choose whether to work in office or remotely. But if the contract does lay out a right to remote work, this policy could constitute a unilateral change to a fundamental term of the agreement. This could open up the path to a constructive dismissal claim, where an employee could be entitled to a severance package even if they resign.

Could a return-to-office policy disproportionately affect employees with family responsibilities?

If an employee was induced to leave previously secure employment on the basis of permanent remote work and promises of career advancement, this argument for constructive dismissal could become even stronger.

Beyond that, there could also be a human rights complaint to be made. Return-to-office policies are likely to disproportionately impact workers with children or other family members they have to take care of. Withholding opportunities for professional advancement on the basis of family status, a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code, even if unintentional, could lead to a discrimination claim and damages.

How can an experienced employment lawyer?

Policies like this can be frustrating roadblocks for workers looking to get promoted and grow within their company. An experienced employment lawyer can help you determine what recourse you may have available to you. If you feel you may be missing out on opportunities to advance at work because of return-to-office policies, please contact Whitten & Lublin online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

Author – Sohrab Naderi