Was promotion constructive dismissal?

This instalment of You Make the Call takes a look at a case where an employee turned down a promotion and subsequently lost his job. The British Columbia Supreme Court was faced with the question of whether the worker quit or if he was constructively dismissed.
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Howie Parks worked at the Vancouver International Airport Authority from May 1, 2000, to Dec. 2, 2003, in a middle management position. He was the superintendent for Airport South. On Nov. 18, 2003, Parks was told he was being promoted to the position of shift manager, airport operations, as part of a reorganization that involved a number of management employees. He was also told that due to the number of people involved in the shuffle, the change was not optional.

Parks did not view the change as a promotion and had concerns about the pay, hours of work and job description. His old position had him working Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hours for the new position weren’t set, but it was expected he would be available around the clock seven days a week.

His former base salary was $69,500 plus a fixed bonus of $4,500 per year and $5,000 in shift premiums for a total of $79,000 per year. Parks said this amount was guaranteed. In the new position, his base salary was the same but it was unclear if the shift premium would remain and the bonus could range from zero to 15 per cent of his salary. He would also be responsible for supervising 30 more employees.