Constructive Dismissal Claims

What is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive dismissal Ontario is a unilateral change to employment that affects the foundation of an employment agreement. The employer must have made a change to the situation of employment that fundamentally changed the worker’s job, or that made it impossible for them to continue working. If you feel that you may have a case you should contact a constructive dismissal lawyer.

Since the employer hasn’t actually terminated the employee’s contract, it is called constructive dismissal. The employer is not meeting their obligations by upholding their side of the arrangement.

A resignation cannot be constructive dismissal if the employee was given proper notice of the change or if the change was agreed upon by both the employer and the employee.

In situations of constructive dismissal, the employee is entitle to compensation in lieu of notice, and sometimes, damages award by the courts

Some examples of Constructive Dismissal Ontario:

  • Change of job duties or tasks
  • Change of shift or work hours
  • Change of job location
  • Change of job conditions
  • Unreasonable work demands
  • Reduction or increase in responsibility
  • Unproductive work environments
  • A hostile or toxic workplace was allowed, created, or ignored
  • Reduced salary, hourly pay, commission, or bonus
  • Reduction of your benefits or pension
  • Demotion

Do You Have a Constructive Dismissal Case?

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada laid out a two-step test for constructive dismissal :

  • (1) The employer’s unilateral change needs to constitute a fundamental breach of the original employment contract; and
  • (2) If the change constitutes a breach, it has to substantially alter a term of the contract. The court must ask whether a reasonable person in the situation of the employee would have felt. At the time of the breach the foundational terms of the initial employment agreement were change in a substantial way.

How We Can Help

Learn about your case and your options by speaking with a constructive dismissal lawyer at Achkar Law. We can assist you in all matters relating to constructive dismissal and wrongful termination, as well as negotiate proper severance (even if you resigned) and additional compensation where applicable.

Constructive dismissal is wrong. You have the right to a stable work environment and you are not obligated to accept substantial changes that affect your work and personal life.


Unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, and wrongful termination are often used interchangeably to refer to the termination of an employment relationship, where the employee is owed a certain amount of money. Unfair dismissal can also refer to a dismissal which was discriminatory based on a protected ground under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Typically, in order to prove constructive dismissal in a case the employee must demonstrate that the employer made unilateral changes that resulted in a fundamental change to the employment, forcing the employee to resign. It is always best not to resign until you speak with an employment lawyer first so you can properly determine if the resignation is voluntary or involuntary.

Bullying and harassment in the workplace can be difficult to navigate and manage. Employees should make sure their employer knows about their grievances and ask for a resolution. Should a resolution not be reached, they should consult with a lawyer to seek compensation.

If you have been constructively dismissed, your entitlements can be very similar to those you get if you were wrongfully terminated. There are many factors which will determine the amount of compensation that a constructively dismissed employee is owed, including what is referred to as the Bardal factors.

Yes, they are different – but the employee’s entitlements can be very similar. Where in a constructive dismissal, the employee resigns due to a fundamental change to their employment or toxic workplace environment. In a wrongful dismissal, the employee is in fact dismissed by their employer – however their employer failed to provide the appropriate amount of notice or pay in lieu.