Employer changes mind about changing worker’s hours

Employer told worker he was getting new shift hours but backtracked when worker protested
By Ronald Minken
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/18/2015

Constructive dismissal is a well-known employment law concept. In short, constructive dismissal can occur when an employer fundamentally changes a term or condition of an employee’s employment and the employee does not agree, either explicitly or implicitly, to its occurrence. While the analysis of whether an employee is entitled to damages resulting from constructive dismissal changed as a result of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2008 decision in Evans v. Teamsters, Local 31, the basic concept of how it can occur has remained somewhat unaltered. The Ontario Labour Relations Board’s recent decision in Oca v. Home Depot of Canada Inc. is a great reminder of this fundamental employment law concept.

Ferdinand Oca was employed as a day shift order picker at a Home Depot store and was one of four employees who picked products for delivery to customers. In October 2011, Oca was moved from the day shift to the night shift where he experienced difficulty in having co-workers assist him with the larger and heavier products for delivery, with which the other order pickers assisted him during the day shift. Oca requested assistance from his supervisor, but such assistance was declined and Oca did not elevate his concern with more senior management.