What is wrongful dismissal?
Generally a wrongful dismissal, sometimes referred to as an unjust dismissal, is about two things. Did your employer dismiss you fairly? And did they adequately compensate you when they terminated your employment? Across the country, federal and provincial laws generally favour employees in the matter of job terminations. When your employer makes the decision to fire you, they must also ease the financial burden of your job loss. This is because our law makers recognize how hard a sudden loss of income can be on individuals, families and society at large. In Ontario, terminations are governed by the Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA). It sets out the rules your employer must carefully follow when they fire you.
Wrongful Dismissal: Calculating Notice and Severance
Your employer can fire you for cause or not-for-cause. Our laws stipulate the minimum notice and severance you should receive from your employer during a job termination. In addition, you are also entitled to fair compensation. And this is determined through common laws, a set of judge-made laws that are based on precedents. They require your employer to compensate you with more than the minimum when your circumstances call for it. In wrongful dismissal cases, our lawyers are well equipped to make these calculations to ensure you receive your full entitlements.
Fired without Notice and Severance
While the law is clear about termination pay, many employers let their employees go without any compensation. They justify this in many ways. Some attempt to limit your rights through employment contracts or by classifying you as a contract worker. But the fact remains, employers have very little leeway to fire you without adequate compensation. Even in a for cause termination, they must pay you notice and severance unless they meet the very high standards of proof for a willful misconduct on your part.
Constructive dismissal is a very unfortunate by-product of an employment relationship gone sour. In this situation, while your employer does not fire you, the conditions at work are so intolerable that you resign, unwillingly. Obvious examples include workplace harassment, bullying, an unreasonable work load or a toxic work environment. However, employers can also create situations that trigger a constructive dismissal by making unilateral changes to your compensation package or terms of employment,
Layoff or Termination? Legally they Differ
Mass job losses make headline news. Some of the largest employers in Ontario are undergoing closure, restructuring or staff reduction. Sears and Loblaws are the most recent candidates in this line-up of retail giants that also include Target, Fedex, Sony, Mexx etc. When reporting these unfortunate stories, news organizations tend to use the terms layoff and termination interchangeably. Yet in fact, there is a real and tangible legal difference between the two. Your rights and entitlements differ in both, as well.
I recently used this law firm for my wrongful dismissal case and severence case. They won my case and got me my severence. I will recommend this law firm.Jennifer Pierce
How We Can Help
Lecker & Associates exclusively represent employees of Ontario. For over 35 years, wrongful dismissal cases have been the cornerstone of our practice. This is an area of employment law we understand particularly well. Our experience allows us the confidence to wade into uncharted territory. We are not afraid to take on cases that set precedents at both provincial and federal levels, to bring clarity to ambiguous laws.
As fierce advocates for employee rights, in wrongful dismissal cases, we can likely help you better than anyone else.
For our series of helpful blogs visit Employee Rights Blog.
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