Transferring an employee causing problems

Moving an employee to fix a poisoned work environment
By Brian Johnston
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/31/2012

Question: If an employer wants to move an employee to a different position and department to try to fix a poisoned environment in his existing department, is there a risk of constructive dismissal? Or does the employer’s obligation to try to make things better for the other workers take precedence?

Answer: An employer must exercise caution when moving an employee from one position or department to another, even if the move is with the intention of fixing a poisoned work environment. When an employer makes any fundamental change to terms and conditions of employment, the employer runs the risk of being held liable for constructive dismissal.

For example, in a recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal (Chandran v. National Bank of Canada), a senior bank manager was informed that several employees had made unsolicited complaints about his behaviour and that, accordingly, he was to be transferred to either of two positions and have his supervisory responsibilities curtailed.