Generally, when you are hired you are aware of the position and role requirements in advance. As you continue working, the scope of your role may change.

In some cases, this can be a good thing; in others, it may not be what you were expecting and may amount to constructive dismissal.

Here’s what you need to know about an employer’s ability to change your job title or position.

Does Your Employer Have the Right To Significantly Change the Terms of Your Employment Contract without you knowing?

Likely not. Significant terms of your employment contract are not terms that should be changed unilaterally without your approval because they go to your fundamental understanding of what your employment looks like. Significant shifts in terms can look like:

Reducing Wages Or Benefits

This can look like cuts to bonuses, commissions, pension benefits, and other forms of compensation.

Temporary Layoff

Even though employment standards legislation permits a temporary layoff, it could still constitute a termination of employment by way of constructive dismissal.


Your employer demotes you to a position and you are humiliated.

Changing Work Hours or Shifts

This may include a reduction in hours or a mandatory increase in hours. It could also look like your employer significantly altering your regular working hours – for example, a change from day shift to night shift.

Change In Location Of Work Or Mandatory Relocation

If an employer changes the place where you’re expected to report to work, this may be considered a constructive dismissal if it causes some hardship on you.

An analysis of your circumstances is necessary to determine whether you have been constructively dismissed or not. In other words, not all changes to your job position or title are considered constructive dismissal.

Toxic Work Environment

A toxic work environment combined with an employer who fails to address your concerns about it may also be another way in which you could be constructively dismissed.

What Can You Do If You Believe You Have Been Constructively Dismissed?

There are a number of options you can pursue if you feel you have been constructively dismissed.

Before making any big decisions such as resigning from your job, make sure to consult a legal expert to establish whether or not the facts of your case do in fact amount to constructive dismissal. If they do, your lawyer can advise on the best legal avenue to pursue.

Mitigating Damages

Employees have a duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate their losses after being terminated from their employment. That can mean things like starting a job search within a reasonable time period and applying for jobs that are within your experience and education.

The takeaway: employees owe duties to employers, even if they have been terminated with insufficient notice. While employed, they must perform the functions of their jobs. If an employee is terminated (which includes constructive dismissals), they must do their best to mitigate their damages. Failure to do so risks a finding of a shorter reasonable notice period.

Final notes

Employees and employers must be well-informed about their duties towards each other. That applies both to contractual duties and common law duties. Breaches of either duty could have costly consequences for both parties. For advice on employee rights, employer liability and other employment law matters, contact us today.