Have you been let go or fired from your job? Losing your job is a stressful event in itself – especially in the current economic climate. Additionally, you may be wondering if your employer has terminated your employment in accordance with the law or whether you have a claim for wrongful dismissal. An early consultation with an employment lawyer will help answer this important question and ensure you bring your claim within the 2 year limitation period that applies with respect to suing for wrongful dismissal.
Do I have a claim for Wrongful Dismissal?
In general, reasonable notice (or payment in lieu of notice) must be given to any employee (special rules and/or rights may apply for unionized employees – unionized employees should first speak with their union representative about the process involved to grieve their termination) by an employer before the employment contract can be terminated.There is however, an important exception – an employer can dismiss an employee without notice if there is just cause.
In Ontario what constitutes “reasonable notice” is governed by both the Employment Standards Act and the common law. The Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum notice period as well as an employee’s entitlement to severance pay. The common law may increase the amount of notice required by looking a number of different factors, including the age of the employee, seniority and availability of similar employment.
Questions to consider
Depending on your particular set of circumstances, the following questions may need to be answered:
- Have I been employed long enough to receive notice?
- Was I given reasonable notice?
- Did I receive the appropriate amount of pay in lieu of notice?
- Am I entitled to severance pay?
- Was there just cause for my termination?
Talking to an Ontario employment lawyer at an early stage will help you determine if you have a possible wrongful dismissal claim and ensure your rights are protected. As well, a lawyer with employment law experience will be able to assist you with the decision to either submit a claim to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for an investigation of the termination or severance or to sue an employer for wrongful dismissal. An employee cannot do both and it is critical that you understand the implications of proceeding in either direction before making your decision.
Contact one of our employment lawyers about workplace related issues and to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your job loss.