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Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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My employer of ~10 yrs yesterday asked me if I would be

Customer Question

My employer of ~10 yrs yesterday asked me if I would be willing to reduce my hours for November (initially; then 'see how things are going'), i.e., drop from 0.8FTE to 0.6FTE, to reduce my low utilization rate. My utilization is dependent on the company placing me on billable projects; there has been a shortage of billable projects of late. What questions should I ask the employer? What are the possible implications of accepting/declining their ask?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have not had low utilization like this since I was hired in 2006. I am quite confident the employer's ask is not related to a perception of poor performance, as there have been no indicators of such, ever. There have just been some lay offs last month, all in the admin/HR/executive suite areas and not frontline consultants who do client facing work, like me. I am an R.N. working in the role of Senior Management Consultant. I would be fine with being laid off, but do not especially want to drop my hours to 0.6FTE for even a short duration, and especially for an indeterminate (open-ended) duration.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Has the employer said that if you say no everything's find and you will continue on as you are doing now?

Do you know what constructive dismissal is?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, the employer did not specify and I did not ask. I have a few questions prepared, and that is one of them; i wanted to know what questions you would advise me to ask, so that I am prepared. Yes, I understand constructive dismissal. Since the employer is asking whether I would volunteer to be paid less, there is not yet fulfillment of the criteria that would constitute CD, as I understand it.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

It is constructive dismissal if you say no.

So if you don't want to do this then be totally clear to the employer that you are p not willing to take less pay or less hours or face a demolition in anyway and then you can resign and sue for constructive dismissal which is suing for wrongful dismissal if the employer insists.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In fact, the employer suggested that I need not make up my mind until sometime in early November, as the timesheets are not due until mid month. This made no sense to me, as if I worked my usual 0.8FTE until mid November, then logging 0.6FTe worth of hours would 'short' me, unless I pulled back in a subsequent week. However, I do have a billable assignment starting so could not cut back those hours at that point. The employer suggests that cutting back to 0.6FTE would make me appear highly utilized (which she views as desirable - she receives pressure to have a high utilization rates as possible), as my new project's hours will be measured as a % against available hours.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
demolition"?? Do you mean demotion? You have not yet addressed my question, which is what are the things I ought to ask when I seek clarification of the employer's request. Yes, one question is, 'What happens if I say no?". And if I do say no, and the employer does NOT insist, then presumably my position remains at 0.8FTE and they have the option to lay me off if they choose?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I were to say 'yes', is it reasonable for me to request and receive a letter stating that a) the request is theirs, b) that the quality of my work is not in question, c) that the duration of the reduction is 1 month only, etc..???
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Yes. That was a typo of course. Spellcheck does silly things sometimes.

I think your employer is simply trying to convince you to accept these changes which will benefit the employer and will harm you. So just remember that you do not have to do that and you can be treated as if you have been dismissed and then you will be entitled to receive reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice and after 10 years that will be quite substantial.

Yes. It is reasonable to make all those requests.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I need to get the HR person to put her ask of me in writing? it was only a conversation, so I have no proof of the ask. Do iI understand you last note correctly: I 'can be treated as if' i 'have been dismissed' - meaning, the employer might treat me as such, or that I can deem to have been treated as such? Earlier you intimated that I must resign to initiate a dismissal claim. That path is rather unappealing - are there options?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

She can agree to let your hours remain unchanged and you can agree to a change. If you cannot reach an agreement then she can dismiss you or if she imposes those hours on you without dismissing you you can resign and sue for wrongful dismissal.

Yes you should have everything in writing.

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