Legal Law

Can Constructive Dismissal Occur Due to a Hostile Work Environment?

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Constructive Dismissal Occur Due to a Hostile Work Environment

Whether you are a manager or an employee, creating a hostile work environment can be detrimental to your business. It can cause a loss in productivity, increase turnover and result in legal fees, if a lawsuit is filed. The key is to avoid toxic environments in the workplace and be proactive about addressing any issues as they arise. To do so, you need strong documentation of all incidents. This includes written and physical evidence from the time of the incident through to its resolution.

The onus is on the employee to prove that their working conditions have become intolerable. This means that the unwelcome behaviour has negatively affected their mental, physical and emotional well-being. They must also have attempted to address the problem with their supervisor, company human resources professional or other senior leaders or bosses. Often, this is shown by evidence such as emails and letters. If the hostility continues after a confrontation, this is an indication that the employee’s complaints are not being taken seriously.

A common example is a situation where an employer changes an employee’s work schedule or requires them to travel to different locations without notice. This can impact an employee’s work-life balance and can lead to financial hardship. It can also be a form of harassment if the change is based on a protected class, such as age, sex, race or religion.

In this case, the employee can make a claim for constructive dismissal due to the hostile work environment. They can also file a claim for wrongful termination as they have been forced to leave their job by the intolerable working conditions.

Can Constructive Dismissal Occur Due to a Hostile Work Environment?

Employees can also resign for other reasons, such as poor performance or personal reasons, rather than a hostile work environment. This is known as voluntary termination or resignation. However, if an employee was fired due to a hostility based on a protected class or for another reason that is illegal under employment law, they could be able to file a claim for wrongful termination as well.

The best way to protect employees from claims of constructive dismissal is to develop a culture that values respect, equality and open communication. With a positive company culture, the types of situations that can lead to constructive dismissal are much less likely to arise.

If you have any concerns about the environment at your workplace, contact Daniel Badre at Badre Law for advice and guidance on how to proceed. As a leading personal injury lawyer in Ottawa, he has the experience and dedication to fight for your rights. If you need assistance with a workplace issue, you can also book a free consultation with him to discuss your options.

Constructive dismissal transpires when an employer’s behavior breaches the employment contract to such an extent that an employee is compelled to resign. While hostile work environments and constructive dismissal are distinct legal concepts, they can intersect under certain circumstances.

Constructive dismissal, on the other hand, transpires when an employer perpetrates fundamental breaches of the employment agreement, making continued employment untenable. This breach may result from actions such as demotion, reduction in pay, or creating a work environment so hostile that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign.

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