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  • Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    I have a Special needs employee in Ontario that has been working for almost 1 year of service, they were doing odd jobs. Our organizations requirements have changed and we no longer have 25 hours of work and would like to reduce hours down to 4 hours a week. What do I need to consider besides providing them with notice?

    Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    If an employer unilaterally reduces your pay or reduces your hours worked, it may constitute constructive dismissal where such a reduction is to an extent that it fundamentally changes the employment relationship.
    Whether a reduction in pay or work hours fundamentally changes an employment relationship depends on the specific facts. However, courts have found that certain changes are likely to be fundamental. For example, a reduction in salary of greater than 10 percent is likely a fundamental change. A significant reduction in a bonus or benefits may also equate to constructive dismissal.
    Similarly, a substantial decrease (or increase) in work hours can also equate to constructive dismissal. For example, if you work full time (40 hours per week) and your employer reduces your work hours to 20 hours per week, this is likely constructive dismissal.
    The fact that your employee is special needs may be a consideration in the amount of severance if a constructive dismissal claim was filed, given how difficult it may be to attain similar employment status, hours and pay in your particular market.
    This should be considered in your decision making, it may in fact be better to severe the employment contract without cause, pay the severance due for the year employment with an additional amount for the considerations mentioned. Of course, we are not giving you advice, but you should look at the costs and risks associated.

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