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Digest of the Week | Constructive Dismissal

Digest of the Week | Constructive Dismissal

Employee of 22 years brought an action for constructive dismissal after employer allegedly said "Go! Get out! I am so sick of coming into this office every day and looking at your ugly face" making the performance of future work impossible and continued employment intolerable

Sweeting v. Mok | 2017 ONCA 203 | Ontario Court of Appeal

Labour and employment law --- Employment law — Termination and dismissal — Termination of employment by employer — Constructive dismissal — Miscellaneous

Plaintiff was 52-year-old registered practical nurse who worked for defendant medical doctor for over 22 years as practice assistant and office manager — Secretary stopped working in office, and plaintiff's workload increased as result — Defendant's wife, who was also nurse, started working two days per week in office to help with workload — During meeting between defendant, defendant's wife and plaintiff, dispute arose about electronic medical record system that defendant wanted to implement in office — Throughout meeting, defendant was angry, used explicit language, pointed his finger, and plaintiff alleged that defendant said "Go! Get out! I am so sick of coming into this office every day and looking at your ugly face" — Plaintiff left and did not return — Plaintiff brought successful action for damages for constructive dismissal — Defendant's conduct had effect of diminishing plaintiff's stature and dignity in office and when he saw impact it had on her, he did nothing — In context of particular work environment, that treatment made future performance of her work impossible, her continued employment intolerable and plaintiff was entitled to treat employment relationship as constructively terminated — Defendant appealed — Appeal dismissed — Trial judge's credibility findings were clearly explained and record supported all her findings of fact — Defendant had not identified any overriding and palpable error in findings of credibility and fact made by trial judge — Trial judge's conclusion, based on findings that defendant terminated plaintiff, was reasonable — There was no basis for interference.
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