Executive Summary

Follows similar rulings in other jurisdictions

Will an employee’s failure to comply with their employer’s vaccination policy amount to a constructive dismissal? In a recent decision that’s first of its kind in Canada, the Supreme Court of British Colombia found that it did not. In Parmar v Tribe Management Inc., an employee was put on an unpaid leave of absence by her employer for refusing to comply with her employer’s mandatory vaccination policy. The employee argued that she was constructively dismissed. A constructive dismissal may result from an employer unilaterally changing an employee’s terms of work in a substantial way. If a court finds that there was a constructive dismissal, it will treat that employee as if they were terminated without cause and the employer will be subject to the liabilities associated with such a termination, including payment of notice, severance and wrongful dismissal damages to the former employee. However, where no constructive dismissal is found, a court will hold that the employee resigned and therefore will not receive such entitlements. In Parmar, the court balanced between the employee’s personal beliefs and the employer’s need to ensure a safe workplace before ultimately ruling that the employee’s conscious decision not to comply with the vaccination policy amounted to a resignation.

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