What does Wrongful Dismissal mean?
Whether you are a part-time, full-time, temporary or permanent employee, your employment relationship is governed by the terms of an employment contract that you entered into with your employer. Whether written or not, each employment contract contains a contractual term that requires an employer to provide an employee with advance notice prior to terminating his or her employment. The reason why employers must give their employees advance notice is because employees need time to prepare for the end of their employment and seek out other employment opportunities. This term may exist by virtue of the common law because the parties did not agree to a specific amount of advance notice (i.e., implied term), can be contained in a written employment contract setting out the amount of advance notice the parties agreed to (i.e., explicit term), or may be imposed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) or Canada Labour Code (i.e., statutory term). Where the term requiring advance notice is implied, the common law requires an employer to provide an employee with a “reasonable” amount of notice. What constitutes a “reasonable” amount of notice is determined based on factors such as an employee’s age, position, length of service, education, training, skills, etc. Where the term of an employee’s contract that deals with notice is explicit, the employer must provide an employee with the amount of notice previously agreed to by the parties. In both situations, the ESA and Canada Labour Code set out the absolute minimum amount of notice that an employer can provide to a provincially-regulated employee and federally-regulated employee when he or she is terminated. When an employer terminates an employee without providing him or her with an appropriate amount of advance notice, the employee has been wrongfully dismissed and, subject to mitigation, is entitled to recover the wages and other compensation he or she would have been entitled to had he or she been given an appropriate amount of notice (i.e., pay in lieu of notice).
What should I do if I have been, or think I have been, wrongfully dismissed?
Your employer has just terminated your employment. You’re suddenly out of work and you’re upset about it. You don’t know what you’re going to do without the income that you have become accustomed to. You feel embarrassed and angry. Your life has been turned upside down and you have more questions than answers. You don’t know what to do.
Step 1: Protect your interests and rights
This is not the time for quick uninformed decision making. This is not the time to agree to a severance package or to sign documents that your employer has asked you to sign. You’re upset now but you’ll be devastated later on if you find out that your employer not only terminated your employment but also deprived you of compensation that you were entitled to.
In order to figure out what to do next, you need information that you can trust. You should speak to an employment lawyer who knows about wrongful dismissal and is committed to representing employees before making a decision as to how to proceed. And if your employer tries to pressure you into signing a severance package, tell it that you need to understand what your rights are before you can sign anything.
Step 2: Meet with one of Franklin Law’s Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers.
If you were terminated and are unsure whether or not you received enough compensation (aka termination pay or severance pay or a severance package), now is the time to contact Franklin Law and book a consultation.
Determining the amount of compensation you are likely to be entitled to upon termination and figuring out the best approach to securing that compensation requires legal training and “hands on” experience that most employees and many lawyers do not have. Because a significant part of Franklin Law’s practice involves representing employees who have been wrongfully dismissed, our lawyers are well positioned to provide you with timely and trustworthy advice, represent you in negotiations with your employer and if necessary, represent you in an action (or lawsuit) against your employer for wrongful dismissal.