Rampre v Okanagan Halfway House Society, 2018 BCSC 992

Our client, a local non-profit agency, was required to cut operational costs due to budget constraints. In doing so, one of the organization’s bookkeeping administrators was proposed for a reassignment of duties, with a significant pay cut.

Just prior to the pay changes coming into effect, the employee protested, claiming to have been constructively dismissed as a result. Our client immediately suspended the proposed pay change in order to talk to the employee and try to find a workable solution. After several weeks of discussions, the employee announced his departure, and our client simultaneously withdrew the proposed employment changes, encouraging him to return. The employee refused and instead commenced litigation against our client.

At trial, the court was tasked with determining whether the proposed changes amounted to a constructive dismissal. After a three-day trial, the court found that the employer made an error in proposing the contractual changes, but that it intended to respect the employment relationship and withdrew the pay cut once it was presented with the employee’s concerns. The court found it was unreasonable for the employee not to return to his previous position, and that as a result, he resigned. The case against our client was dismissed in full.

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