Unlawful Dismissal

Unlawful dismissal in Ontario

An unlawful dismissal in Ontario may occur when an employee is dismissed without being given reasonable notice or without being paid pay in lieu of notice. The Employment Standards Act of Ontario sets out the minimums employees are entitled to receive in the event of a termination without cause. It is important to note that employees may be entitled to significantly higher compensation at common law.  The employer dismissing an employee must have just cause to dismiss the employee if reasonable notice is not given or if pay in lieu of notice is not paid. If the employer is alleging that there is just cause to dismiss, the employer must make sure that the grounds for the just cause allegations have merit. The Employment Standards Act also makes it clear that if there is just cause to dismiss the employee, a termination is not an unlawful dismissal.

An employer should not attempt to avoid notice or pay in lieu of notice obligations. Doing so may result in an unlawful dismissal and may expose the employer to wrongful dismissal litigation. It is important to note that the legal concept of notice is different in unionized settings. This is because unionized employees are governed by the collective agreements of they union they are part of. The criteria for an unlawful dismissal in a unionized setting may be different. The remedies and relief available to employees under a collective agreement can also be significantly different. It is prudent to seek legal advice to find out if you have been the victim of an unlawful dismissal.

Unlawful dismissal and compensation

It is not uncommon for an employee to be the victim of an unlawful dismissal when her or she is fired from work. There are many instances when employers are looking to cut costs or to “streamline” their businesses. One of the ways this is accomplished is by shedding overhead or constricting the workforce. Employers in Ontario are entitled to fire employees without providing a reason for doing so. This allows employers to be flexible with their affairs and to control the size of their workforces. Nonetheless, if an employee is dismissed without just cause, the employer must give reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice. Employers must be very careful when dismissing employees. A wrongfully dismissed employee may be able to sue the employer for various kinds of compensation. See also: wrongful dismissal, pay in lieu of notice, termination pay, severance pay.

If your company is looking to decrease spending by firing an employee, you must ensure that you are doing it legally. You should analyze the risk and ensure that your company is aware of the possible financial consequences of a wrongfully dismissed employee suing. Additionally, if you suspect that there is just cause to dismiss an employee based on some kind of misconduct, it is prudent to consult with a wrongful dismissal lawyer. There are many instances when conduct may seem reprehensible, but where the conduct does not amount to just cause. In those situations your company may be carrying out an unlawful dismissal and may be exposed to wrongful dismissal litigation.

The information on this website is for informative purposes only. It is not legal advice. A lawyer can only be retained after a consultation. If you need a wrongful dismissal lawyer or if you have any other employment law issues, call me at: 416 323 3614