Wrongful Dismissal: Advice from a Toronto Employment Lawyer

Wrongful Dismissal

Losing a job is a stressful and emotional experience, especially when it comes unexpectedly and without a proper reason. If you believe you were fired without just cause, you may have a legal claim for wrongful dismissal. It is crucial to seek guidance from an experienced Toronto employment lawyer to navigate the complexity of employment law and safeguard your rights. 

What Is Wrongful Dismissal?

Wrongful dismissal, also known as wrongful termination, occurs when an employer terminates an employee without providing adequate notice, pay or a valid reason for dismissal. In other words, you may have a case for wrongful dismissal if you were fired without notice, without severance pay, without bonus/incentive compensation or for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason.

Employee Rights in Ontario

In Ontario, if an employee is terminated without just cause, they are entitled to a minimum notice period or pay called notice of termination. 

Factors like the length of service determine the duration of this minimum notice or pay. For example, employees with less than a year and more than eighty-nine days of service may receive one week’s notice or pay (at the employer’s discretion), while those with eight or over eight years may receive eight weeks’ termination notice or pay in lieu of notice. 

Severance, confusingly denotes both the act of severing your employment relationship and a statutory right to pay in lieu of notice. Similar to notice of termination, it is based on the factor of an employee’s length of service. It is one week of notice or pay in lieu of notice (the employer must either advise you that you are about to lose your job based on years of service or pay you out the equivalent amount of your income over that time). It is capped at twenty-six weeks based on an employee being loyal to an employer for more than five years and the employer having a global payroll of $2.5 million dollars. 

In addition to these two rights, a third exists, but not from politician made statute law. The courts have considered other factors of employment such as an employee’s age, salary, the state of the labour market, the COVID-19 pandemic in determining reasonable notice of job loss. 

What Is Just Cause?

Just cause refers to substantial misconduct or incompetence on the part of the employee. It includes – but is not limited to – theft, harassment or repeated violations of company policies. If just cause is asserted, an employee will lose their entitlement to the factors a court considers for notice during loss of employment. This is a lower standard for an employer to prove. 

However, In Ontario, there is also a higher standard of misconduct required to be proven if an employer tries to deprive an employee of their termination pay or severance pay. This is known as the wilful misconduct standard whereby the employee can be immediately dismissed without notice or severance pay. Unless the employer can clearly prove wilful misconduct (being ‘bad on purpose’ and planning it) employees are entitled to their termination and severance pay. If there is no just cause or willful misconduct, you can file a wrongful termination suit. 

Why Do You Need an Employment Lawyer?

In case of wrongful dismissal, you may want to attempt to resolve the issue independently. However, the legal system can be complex and intimidating, especially when dealing with an employer with more resources and legal knowledge than you do.

It’s essential to seek the assistance of an experienced employment lawyer in Toronto to help level the playing field and protect your rights. Employment lawyers have the technical knowledge of caselaw, statutes, civil procedure and more that is crucial to understanding the underpinnings of negotiations and litigation. 

What Can an Employment Lawyer Do for You?

An experienced Toronto employment lawyer can review your case, explain your legal rights and obligations, and advise you on the best course of action. We are professional advocates, hard-nosed negotiators and masters of this area of legal practice. We have the resources, the skills and the expertise to take your employment issue from start to finish. 

Services Lawyers Can Provide

Some of the specific services that an employment lawyer can provide include:

  •     reviewing your employment contract and the circumstances of your dismissal to determine whether you have a case for wrongful dismissal
  •     calculating the amount of notice or pay that you are entitled to under the Ontario Employment Standards Act or your employment contract
  •     negotiating with your employer to try to resolve the dispute without going to court
  •     preparing and filing a complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Labour or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, if applicable
  •     representing you in court proceedings and advocating for your interests

Toronto Employment Lawyers

In the event of wrongful dismissal, you can pursue legal recourse. It’s essential to seek the guidance of an experienced employment lawyer in Toronto to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.

Whether you need advice on your legal rights, assistance negotiating a settlement or representation in court, a skilled and experienced lawyer from Lecker & Associates can be your strongest ally. For over 35 years, Lecker & Associates employment lawyers have provided advice and representation to thousands of employees in Ontario, with a track record of success.

Call 866-915-3303 or complete our contact form to request a consultation and begin working on your case.