College constructively dismisses director in restructuring of research centre

Applied research director given opportunity to create own position, but it was significantly less in scope and influence
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

An Alberta college must pay constructive dismissal damages to a professor whose position was substantially changed and reduced in an academic restructuring, the Alberta Provincial Court has ruled.

Dr. Lorne MacGregor, 59, was the director of applied research at Lethbridge College in Lethbridge, Alta. When the college hired him in 2008, his position was newly created. MacGregor had previously worked in research and consulting in the private sector and was the intellectual property manager at a university for several years before coming to Lethbridge College.

MacGregor’s job description stated that his primary focus was to provide leadership and encourage innovation for the college’s applied research, implementing policies and practices to support the development of applied research and commercialization initiatives. He managed the college’s Office of Applied Research and Innovation along with its budget, as well as cultivated collaborative relationships and support from external clients and financial donors. He had four employees reporting directly to him, as well as some partial direct reports and researchers who reported to him.