When advising a wrongfully terminated employee as to her legal rights and obligations, I always point out that a wrongful dismissal claim is not like winning the lottery. While employers are obligated to provide reasonable notice of termination or payment in lieu of such notice, terminated employees must make “reasonable efforts” to find new employment. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. What must a dismissed employee do to meet her obligation to mitigate? What have courts determined to be reasonable steps? What conduct has been held to be unreasonable? From whose perspective will reasonableness be judged–the employers or the employees?
It has always been clear in Ontario law that employers cannot unilaterally alter the most important aspects of the employment contract – compensation, location of work, hours of work – without the employee’s consent or providing adequate advance notice of the change. If it does, it may lead to a claim of constructive dismissal. But what if the change imposed in the contract is not as important as some of these? How can the employee respond to a change in his position that he perceives to be a demotion, even if the title remains the same.
By now, countless businesses have had to address some issue relating to an employee using her or his personal digital device for work purposes (“bring your own device” or BYOD). An employee wants to access the office wireless network on her laptop so she can work while away from her desk; another wants to store and view work documents on his tablet; another just wants to check her work email from her smartphone. These are just a few of the many ways workers are using personal digital devices to perform work-related tasks.