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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 99009
Experience:  Lawyer
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I have been working as an HR Generalist same company 10

Customer Question

I have been working as an HR Generalist for the same company for almost 10 years. Just recently, I was notified that there would be major changes to my role.
1)My role itself will change. They are removing all recruitment from my role (so no longer a true generalist) and they are moving towards a Business Partner model. While they said the role was going to be exciting & challenging, they have been very vague and ambiguous on what I will actually be doing! To date, I have not received any job description of what I will be doing.
2)They have asked me to move locations and take on a new client group. While in the same city, it is about 30 minutes from where I currently work and will be much more inconvenient
3)They have asked me to give up my part-time work schedule and work full time. I have been working 60% as I have 2 young kids under 4.
4)I found out from our assistant (not even from my boss) that I would now be reporting to a different leader (who is at a lower job band than my current leader). He is moving to the city to take on this new role.
5) Once one of my colleague retires in January, they will not be replacing his role. This means that we will be going from 3 HR folks to 2. How is this good in any way? It's just more work. This is a restructuring in my opinion, but none of the leaders have actually uttered those words.
The actual communication of this has been shamefully poor, especially for an HR department with seasoned leaders. My reaction was shock and disappointment, visibly upset...I was then told from my leader that I was acting selfish, entitled, and naïve, and implied that I should be happy to even have a job (in the current Calgary market). I was basically told to take the job or resign. This is shameful behavior, especially from an HR leader!
They want to impose all of these changes as of January 1. I no longer want to work in this type of toxic environment, as I have lost all trust in our department leaders. With the cumulative change in job description, location, work hours, and leadership, this makes this a materially different job than what I had accepted 10 years ago. I would like to get a severance package and need to know where I stand on this. Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

The situation does sound like this may be a case of constructive dismissal.

When an employer does something that fundamentally changes the nature of the employment so that it drives the employee to quit, this may be a case of constructive dismissal. This is usually the case when the employer reduces wages, cuts hours etc. It is also the case where the employer's conduct makes it intolerable for the employee to continue working.

If an employee does quit under these circumstances then the law is that constructive dismissal is wrongful dismissal and the employer will be liable for damages.

If you are considering this option it is crucial that you first consult with an employment lawyer so that you can get a legal opinion from an expert both about whether the facts amount to constructive dismissal and, as well, about what damages you may be entitled to.

Generally the damages would be equal to what you would receive had you been dismissed without cause. If that had been the case you would have been entitled to receive "reasonable" notice or pay in lieu of notice.

Generally, in determining what is reasonable notice Courts look at several factors including the length of time you worked for the employer, your age, your position, the likelihood of finding new employment etc.

At the high end, if you were in a managerial position, the Court would likely order one month's notice or pay in lieu of notice for each year of employment. If you were not in a managerial position the Court would order somewhat less.

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