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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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Can my employer lower wages and change our working hours in

Resolved Question:

Can my employer lower wages and change our working hours in Ontario ? Do they have to give notice to do so?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 8 years ago.
When an employer lowers wages or changes work hours this is usually can come under the doctrine of constructive dismissal.

What this means is that really the employer breached the employment contract and conducted himself in such as way as to give you no choice but to resign. So, if you feel that given the fact that you have no choice but to resign then you can actually resign and then this would amount to wrongful dismissal because it was as if you were fired without notice.

But, you still need to think about whether you are willing to resign over this or not and also how much notice would you be entitled to? This would depend on how long you've worked for the company.

What you might consider doing is contacting the Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour by calling their Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.

They can provide you with further information with respect to constructive dismissal and can also advise you as to what people in your situation tend to do when this occurs.

It's very unfortunate that the power imbalance between the employer and employee grows in times of economic hardship. This is what is happening to you. The employer is counting on you wanting to keep your job regardless of how you are treated. On the other hand the employer may not have enough money to keep everyone on at their regular wages so it's often not even clear how this conduct can be interpreted.

I am sorry this has happened to you.

If misery loves company you should know that right now on this site the employment related questions are the most frequent questions asked.

I hope that you can work this out.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK , but can the employer do the wage cut and hours of work change without reasonable notice ?
Expert:  Debra replied 8 years ago.
The point is that he can't legally do it at all, in the sense that legally it gives you the right to walk out.

What you can do is tell him that you want to negotiate something so that you can keep your job but it's fairer to you and you want some notice before this kicks in.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK thank you