If an employee complains working conditions are forcing them to leave, it's worth taking the time to listen to avoid a lengthy court case such as in Strizzi v Curzons Management Associates Inc 2011 which dragged on for more than seven years.
When Giovanni Strizzi said he could no longer work for the owner of a health club he managed, his boss heard it as a resignation, but a Supreme Court judge found the circumstances constituted constructive dismissal.
Strizzi was the general manager of an Ottawa health club, owned by David Thomas and John Cardillo. Strizzi had a good working relationship with Thomas, but found Cardillo, who had responsibility for the club, more difficult to work with.
Cardillo was found to have treated Strizzi so badly that his “employment was intolerable”, from berating him on a phone call until Strizzi and his wife were in tears, to blaming him for buying plane tickets to a Toronto meeting that was cancelled after he left Ottawa.
The judge found that Strizzi was a loyal, hard-working and committed employee of the Club, who had no intention of resigning given the fact that he had just bought a new home, his wife was pregnant, he had just leased a new vehicle and had no other job prospects in the works.
The club was ordered to pay Strizzi $45,000 plus seven years’ worth of interest as lost wages and damages.
Intolerable working conditions, sexual harassment, and bullying may all be forms of constructive dismissal, and if it's left unchecked your company could face the consequences.
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