Outright dismissal is one thing, but being stripped of duties or wrongfully demoted can often leave employees wondering where they stand.
In economic recession or times of difficulty, employers may restructure the workforce in an effort to reduce costs and enhance organizational efficiency. Provided it is done right this can be a legitimate strategy, and employees may feel obliged to go along with it in order to avoid complete layoff or being forced out. During restructuring, employees may be more concerned with keeping a job than defending their contractual rights.
However, if an employer makes a unilateral change to a worker’s contract without consent, this can be interpreted as wrongful demotion. Generally, an employer may not demote an employee or reduce wages without reasonable notice or the employee’s consent. If you were transferred, stripped of duties, laid off without pay or had a substantial pay cut without proper notice or consent, you may have experienced a wrongful demotion.
Wrongful demotion, constructive termination and severance pay
In some cases a wrongful demotion may be a sidelong attempt to force an employee out. Pay cuts, stripped duties or harassment may all be ploys in an attempt to encourage an employee’s forced resignation without having to pay anything, by making work intolerable. The good news is, Alberta labour laws offer protection against such action.
Deliberate or not, a wrongful demotion can be interpreted as constructive dismissal and treated accordingly under labour law. If an employer’s actions amount to constructive termination, they may be on the hook for severance pay.
When calculating severance for wrongful demotion, commissions, bonuses, profit shares, benefits and the loss of pension benefits may all be considerations. Professional legal advice has the potential to better your position by thousands of dollars.
Contact Our Edmonton Employment Lawyers Today
If you live in the greater Edmonton area and have been the victim of wrongful demotion, contact the Lypkie Henderson Employment Law office to arrange a consultation.