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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100929
Experience:  Lawyer
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I work American company from a branch in Quebec. Recently,

Customer Question

I work for an American company from a branch in Quebec. Recently, they changed my work hours having me finish at 4:30 pm instead of 3:30 pm. This creates additional stress for me because I have a very long commute of approx 1.5 to 2.0 hours at rush hour by bus getting me home at 6:30 pm. I have scoliosis which causes muscular pain unless I excercise on a daily basis. Having less time to excercise on a daily basis, creates a fair amount of stress for me. I had a heart attack 2 weeks after they changed my hours. Is there anything I can do to get my employer to take my stress and excercise needs into account, allowing me to finish at 3:30 pm instead of 4:30 pm?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years 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.
As well, the employer has a duty to accommodate your disability. So you could bring in a letter from the doctor stating need the time at home to exercise. If the employer can accommodate you without suffering undue hardship and does not then this is discrimination and so you can tell that to the employer and see if that works. Otherwise you can file a complaint with your Human Rights Commission.