Skip to main content

Do you have to accept a demotion?

I've worked for my company for 10 years. My manager just informed me that my job is being eliminated and I am being demoted. Do I need to accept this new, lower job? Does my employer have any legal obligations to offer me a severance package?

The Answer

Story continues below advertisement

No. You do not have to accept the lesser job and if the employer refuses to provide you with severance and insists you take the lesser role, you can leave and sue for constructive dismissal, which is essentially a claim for severance based on a deemed termination. The key is that the lesser job is, in fact, lesser in all respects. That point has to be objectively clear, especially if your salary does not change.

Can I sue my employer after I settled my case?

I was harassed and discriminated against by my manager. This caused me depression. I consulted a lawyer, who filed a Human Rights Tribunal claim. In the end, he negotiated with the defendant's lawyer, and I was forced to agree to a settlement. A year has passed and I'm unhappy with the agreement and the lawyer. Is there anything I can do to reopen that negotiation?

The Answer

No. Once you settle a case, sign the settlement documents and take the money, all issues between you and your former employer are over. You also have to be responsible for the agreement you made with your lawyer and the settlement you accepted. Unhappiness with a settlement will not allow you to back out of it, especially one year later.

Daniel A. Lublin is a partner at Whitten & Lublin, employment and labour lawyers, and he is the author of the Law of Contractors.

Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of experts: Your name and address will be kept confidential.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to