19 Sep How do I respond if my job is threatened?
If you have been making repeated mistakes at work, have not recently been accomplishing expectations, or the competition for your role has increased; your boss may have threatened to terminate your employment contract. At times, a boss could engage in this conversation because they believe they are being transparent, sparking productivity, or more concernedly, as a form of intimidation.
When a boss threatens to fire an employee, there are many actions an employee can take that are responsible and legally adept.
If you know that you have been making too many mistakes and believe you can do better moving forward, you may want to focus on demonstrating your commitment and willingness to improve. This response is conducive to a situation where your employer has reasonably warned you that they may have to find someone else for the role if no further progress is made.
In this case, you could have a conversation with your employer about clarifying your responsibilities and what they expect from you on a daily and weekly basis. If you are unsure about what your employer expects from you, it is critical to ask: “what does a successful employee in this role look like to you?” Even if you believe you are performing at a decent level, there may be other things your employer is looking for but may not have initially communicated.
Another way to approach this conversation is to ask your employer about exploring a position more suited to your strengths. If you love your current workplace and agree that you haven’t been meeting the mark, be open to trying an alternate position.
If you want to keep your role and believe you could benefit from additional education, there may be an opportunity for professional development. For example, you could ask for more training or even course work that could advance your skills.
However, the way to approach this situation should be considerably different if your employer has threatened you in an aggressive manner that is manipulative, unwarranted, or a form of intimidation. If the conversation was initiated in this way, it could be considered harassment.
Harassment in Ontario is described as: “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcomed”. In this case, how you respond is critical. Even though someone has demonstrated aggressive behaviour, it is very important to remain calm and know that you are legally protected from this kind of treatment.
The first step is to reach out to KCY at LAW to discuss the situation and provide advice on a plan of action. In harassment cases, an employee could file a claim with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HTRO) to have this matter mediated and resolved. A qualified lawyer could also conduct a workplace investigation to collect more evidence and identify if this behaviour is a pattern.
There are more situations where threat of termination could also reasonably lead to a constructive dismissal claim. For example, if you refuse to move to another province for work, and the employer’s response is termination unless you agree, it is within your right to file a constructive dismissal claim.
If your employer has threatened to terminate your employment, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.