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Wrongful Dismissal

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An employer and employee have a legal employment relationship in the nature of a contract. With this relationship, comes many responsibilities which both parties need to abide and follow.

As per Canadian employment law, an employer needs to follow certain rules before dismissing a non-unionized employee. Employment rules for unionized employees are governed under their respective ‘Collective Agreement’ with the employer.

Any dismissal which does not follow the laid down rules is termed a wrongful dismissal. A dismissal of an employee needs to be supported by a ‘Just cause’, if not, it comes under the purview of wrongful dismissal. An employee dismissed in the absence of a just cause, can sue their employer legally and claim rightful damages under the Canadian employment regulations.
Primarily, there are three variations of a wrongful dismissal:

  • An employer terminates an employee without cause and without adequate compensation
  • An employee has an inappropriate cause alleged against them, and have received no compensation from their employer
  • An employer dismisses an employee by making working conditions intolerable or modifying the primary terms and conditions under the employment contract

In cases, where the employer is unable to show cause for dismissal and adequate notice, they may be compelled to pay damages to the concerned employee. The Ontario Court of Appeal lays down 24 months as the maximum notice period which is variable based on the individual case facts.

Specialized legal counsel is recommended for an employer or employee to legally confirm if their case can be supported in the Canadian courts.

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