Firing Federal Employees | Author: Bram Lecker

Firing Federal Employees Without Cause is Effectively Illegal.

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision that affected employees working in federally regulated industries. These include banks, airlines, telecommunications companies, federal crown corporations like Canada Post, etc. If you are such an employee and your pink slip says that you were fired without cause, know this. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that firing federal employees without cause is effectively illegal under the Canada Labour Code (CLC).

The story began with this case, Wilson v Atomic Energy of Canada Limited 2016 SCC 29. Joseph Wilson worked for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited for 4-1/2 years. Around November 2009, he was fired without cause by his employer who offered six months pay in lieu of notice. Mr. Wilson filed a wrongful dismissal complaint. His employer argued that the dismissal was fair because they had offered him a superior termination package.

Firing Federal EmployeesThis case moved up through our court system with rulings that overturned previous decisions. Finally, Supreme Court Canada took it up. Writing for the majority, Madame Justice Abella ruled that the CLC only permits dismissals for “just cause.” Federal employers cannot hide behind notice and severance payments to avoid a determination of whether the dismissal was fair or not. She stated that the plethora of discretionary remedies provided by the CLC, in particular reinstatement, was inconsistent with firing federal employees without cause.

So What Does This Decision Mean For You?

The CLC governs the terms of employment for federally regulated industries. If you work for one, then this decision offers you expansive protections. Firing federal employees can now only take place for just cause or with a redundancy in the position. This is job security similar to what unionized employees receive through the collective bargaining process.

In conclusion, if your employer has fired you without cause, you can definitely pursue your common law entitlements in the civil courts. However, if you want your job reinstated or seek extra compensation then our experienced team of Toronto employment lawyers can take on your case.

Contact us for an evaluation.


Firing Federal Employees | Author: Bram Lecker
Cover Photo: Employee about to get fired, Flickr Creative Commons

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