Losing a job is tough, but being dismissed without just cause is even tougher. In Canada, understanding wrongful dismissal is crucial to protecting your employment rights. Let’s break down what it means and how to handle it if it happens to you.
At the heart of wrongful dismissal is a breach of the employment contract or violation of employment statutes. Termination is not wrongful if an employer has a legitimate reason (just cause) and follows the contractual or statutory procedures. However, if an employer fails to provide adequate notice or severance pay — unless the employee has engaged in serious misconduct — this may be grounds for a wrongful dismissal claim.
Wrongful dismissal isn’t just about losing your job, it’s about losing it the wrong way. It’s a dismissal that disregards the established legal process, leaving you without work and without the notice or severance you legally deserve.
A dismissal is tagged as wrongful when it breaches the employment contract or the Canadian Labour Code or any applicable provincial employment standard laws. It can include being fired without cause, without the chance to rectify alleged job performance issues, or without the notice period your contract or statute stipulates.
Just cause termination is an exception to the requirement of notice or severance pay. This includes situations like theft, fraud, insubordination, or chronic absenteeism. However, proving just cause is on the employer, and the bar is set high.
If you were wrongfully dismissed and something about the situation doesn’t feel quite right — like there’s a missing piece to the picture or you feel like you got a raw deal, here’s a guide on the steps you can take to navigate these:
Canada’s employment laws offer a safety net of minimum standards. These laws provide the least amount of notice or pay instead of notice that employers must give to employees. For example, the federal Canada Labour Code and provincial acts, like Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, set out these minimums.
Employers sometimes offer severance packages that exceed the statutory minimums. Employees are entitled to negotiate these offers to ensure they receive fair compensation, considering factors like age, length of service, and job prospects.
If you’re wrongfully dismissed, compensation can take several forms, ensuring you’re not left in a lurch:
These contractual points dictate how dismissal must be handled and what compensations are due. Their fairness and clarity can be the difference between a smooth exit and a wrongful dismissal claim. Not all written clauses are set in stone. If they’re overly harsh or not written, a court might rule them unenforceable.
The right lawyer is one with a specialized focus on employment law, a communicative approach, and a supportive demeanour, ensuring you feel understood and represented.
When selecting a lawyer, look for:
Start your search for a lawyer by consulting local legal directories, seeking referrals, or checking online for lawyers with high ratings and success in wrongful dismissal cases.Understanding wrongful dismissal is critical to protecting your employment rights in Canada. If you face a termination, arm yourself with knowledge, gather documentation, and consider obtaining legal advice. Employment relationships are foundational to our lives, and when they end improperly, it’s important to know where you stand and how to seek redress.
At LawVo, we ensure you have the legal resources and guidance necessary to effectively handle wrongful dismissal claims. Subscribe to LawVo today and take a stand for your employment rights.Back to blogs