Cumulative changes amount to constructive dismissal

Daniel A. Lublin, Toronto Metro News
Wednesday, July 18 2006

“Not many men have both good fortune and good sense.”
Titus Livy

John-Louis Drapeau was the consummate company man.  But when his job was gradually eroded, his loyalty quickly turned to fury.  Believing that his demotion was tantamount to a dismissal, Drapeau fled and then proceeded to sue his ex-employer.  His beliefs were vindicated at trial.

While the law of constructive dismissal is fact driven, employees can glean valuable advice from this case:

  • courts don’t confine the doctrine of constructive dismissal to a single or readily identifiable change to an employee’s job.
  • when changes are imposed, not every employee can simply pack up and place a call to their lawyer.  The changes must be obvious, negative and substantial – and must be so in the eyes of the judge, not just the litigants.
  • An employee who consents to or condones significant changes can cry foul if the aftermath proves less than desirable.  Some form of protest must be registered.
  • employees with valid grievances may even have to remain in the altered job or risk failing to mitigate damages.  In order to unavail employers of this defence, counsel should always be consulted.

Click here for the entire article “Cumulative Demotion leads to Success in Court

Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful dismissal.  He can be reached at [email protected]