Opportunity knocks but employee doesn’t answer

Sobeys manager felt 2 offers after restructuring were demotions but court said one was reasonable
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

A Nova Scotia employer that eliminated a long-time employee’s position and offered her a different job at another location did not constructively dismiss her, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled.

Debbie Gillis, 47, joined grocery store chain Sobeys as a store cashier when she was a teenager and worked her way up the ladder over the next 28 years, eventually becoming a food experience manager, part of the marketing department at the Sobeys head office in Stellarton, N.S., in 2003. She didn’t have any disciplinary issues during her tenure and she received several positive performance appraisals.

In 2009, the vice-president of marketing asked the department to restructure to increase efficiency and meet the 2010 marketing budget, with the stipulations there was to be no negative impact on existing employees. The management team presented a proposal in February 2009 that didn’t affect Gillis’ position.