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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 103471
Experience:  I have been a lawyer since 1985 and have been a professional on this site for 5 years.
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My daughter has worked for Hollisters for a year come August.

Customer Question

My daughter has worked for Hollisters for a year come August. She was hired by the Regional Manager, under a specific wage, agreed-upon hours and promoted to a higher position shortly after, because of her exemplary work. She received wages appropriate to that position and even received a "rare" raise and a letter of commendation for her work in getting this Calgary location store out of the red and into the black. Even the US CEOs, who came in to inspect praised her. The regional manager has since gone to Toronto; her store manager has moved to the Hong Kong store, and the new regional manager and store manager are trying to force her out. The "floor model" in the downstairs store wants the stockroom manager job upstairs (my daughter's job) and the new manager, who migrated from the downstairs store, promised the "floor model" a job in that position when it opens up. On Monday, the regional manager manager, who hid in the office and never spoke to my daughter directly, instructed the store manager to tell my daughter that her hours were not acceptable and a new schedule was being posted, to which she must adhere to or be fired. The new schedule was posted on the Wednesday. If she doesn't report for work for those hours, she will be put on report and three times gets her fired. The other stockroom workers are quitting in protest and the remaining bunch refuse to help or train the newbie coming in to take the job. The assistant manager even announced to staff that the stockroom manager was leaving when my daughter has not given anyone her decision as of yet.

The new regional manager even came down on her for taking 3 days holidays at the beginning of July and remarked that she had no right to take 2 days holidays back in March. She said is was "unacceptable" and that the store suffered because of her absence.

My daughter is a dancer and trains certain hours on two days per week. My daughter has even offered to come in early on those days, leave for her training, and return until after closing to make sure all the inventory is looked after. Other store managers think this is fine but the regional manager is hell bent on getting rid of her and replacing her with the inexperienced model downstairs. The original regional manager never thought the modified hours were a problem as my daughter often worked 10-13 hour shifts on other days to make up the work. The store has also been on the "bad" list for a long time, with their corporate office, and since my daughter has been there, they are turning a hefty profit with her merchandising instincts and careful attention to detail. Her plan was to work another year to pay for her university schooling as her father is disabled and retired and I am approaching retirement and my health is not all as it should be. She is a hard worker and I feel that "they" are jealous of the admiration she gets from the front office and from the other workers in the stockroom, as well as from employees from the store downstairs.

They want her to take a lower position, part-time and at minimum wage.

1. First of all, can they post a new schedule with only 24 hours notice and expect the employees to immediately adhere to it?

2. If they force her down to the part-time position, can they strip her of her present wage (which includes the raise) and force her to take minimum wage? (I thought you could only do that if she quits and is rehired)

3. Is there any recourse in this matter?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Before I begin I want to explain a bit about how the site works.

It may be that I will find that I need to gather further information from you. As well, it's quite possible that you may feel the need to ask me additional questions for further clarification.Please do not worry that you will be charged additionally if I ask you questions or if you need to ask me questions. That is not at all how the site works.

As well, please understand that as a careful lawyer I will always give you an honest answer even if the answer is sometimes not what you were hoping for.

Finally, as we go through the process please do not feel rushed if I ask you a question. You are always free to take your time to gather more information before you post back. As well, please understand that even after you rate me the post will not lock and you could always come back for further clarification if you think of something a bit later on down the road.

I am sorry to hear this is happening to your daughter.

he situation does sound like this may be a case of constructive dismissal.

When an employer does something that fundamentally changes the nature of the employment so that it drives the employee to quit, this may be a case of constructive dismissal. This is usually the case when the employer reduces wages, cuts hours etc. It is also the case where the employer's conduct makes it intolerable for the employee to continue working.

If an employee does quit under these circumstances then the law is that constructive dismissal is wrongful dismissal and the employer will be liable for damages.

If you are considering this option it is crucial that you first consult with an employment lawyer so that you can get a legal opinion from an expert both about whether the facts amount to constructive dismissal and, as well, about what damages you may be entitled to.

Generally the damages would be equal to what you would receive had you been dismissed without cause. If that had been the case you would have been entitled to receive "reasonable" notice or pay in lieu of notice.

Generally, in determining what is reasonable notice Courts look at several factors including the length of time you worked for the employer, your age, your position, the likelihood of finding new employment etc.

At the high end, if you were in a managerial position, the Court would likely order one month's notice or pay in lieu of notice for each year of employment. If you were not in a managerial position the Court would order somewhat less.

It sounds to me that your daughter's next step should be to consult with an employment lawyer face to face.

Your daughter can contact the Law Society and use their Lawyer Referral Service. She will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be free.

The number is:

1-800-661-1095 or
403-228-1722 in Calgary

Let me know if you need any further clarification.