What do you do if you have been wrongfully dismissed?
If you suspect you have been wrongfully dismissed, the first step is to ensure that you do not make any rash decisions. A termination of employment is governed by employment law principles you many not be familiar with. You will likely be worried about losing your job and not having income. You need to take your time and to consider you options carefully. Call 416 323 3614 for an appointment with me to examine your case. We will examine your case to determine if you have been wrongfully dismissed.
On many occasions employers dismiss an employee and state that the employee is not entitled to receive notice, or pay in lieu of notice because there is just cause to dismiss the employee due to some kind of misconduct or actions by the employee. Even if the alleged misconduct seems like it justifies the dismissal of the employer without reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice, it might fall short of being just cause for dismissal. In other words, the employee may be the subject of a termination without cause.
For example, it can be difficult for employers to dismiss and employee for cause due to performances issues or incompetence. There are also many instance when an employee has engaged in some kind of conduct over a period of time such as being slightly late for work and the employer has condoned the conduct by not warning or reprimanding the employee.
Suddenly, the employer may decide to dismiss that same employee with just cause for the same conduct. In a situation like this the employee may have been wrongfully dismissed despite the alleged conduct seeming sufficient to justify a dismissal for cause. The employee may be entitled to commence a wrongful dismissal action against the employer for damages and compensation.
Do not accept any offers in termination letters if wrongfully dismissed without seeking legal advice
Employers usually dismiss employes by giving the employee a termination letter. A termination letter will state whether or not the employer things there is cause to dismiss the employee. If cause is alleged, the employer will likely not offer any pay in lieu of notice, termination pay, or severance pay. In that case you have to ensure that there really is cause for dismissal and that you have not been wrongfully dismissed.
If on the other hand the employer does not allege cause, it is likely that the termination letter will specify an amount of termination pay and/or severance pay the employee may be entitled to. The termination letter may also enclose a Release for the employee to sign waiving any future rights to a sue. It is important to understand that the amounts of termination pay and/or severance pay in termination letter may be only Employment Standards Act minimums. As an employee you may be entitled to higher compensation at common law. You must consider the contents of the termination letter carefully. If you suspect that you have been wrongfully dismissed, you should have an employment lawyer review your termination letter. If you are the victim of a wrongful dismissal in Toronto, you may want to find out more about your duty to mitigate as an employee.
Do not sign any Releases related to your employment if wrongfully dismissed without seeking legal advice
If you are presented with an offer for pay in lieu of notice upon termination, you may be asked to sign a Release waiving your rights to sue the employer for wrongful dismissal. Although it may seem like a good idea to sign and move on, you may in fact be surrendering a significant entitlement to compensation as a result of being wrongfully dismissed. Your employer cannot give you legal advice and tell you that the pay in lieu of notice the employer many have offered you is sufficient.
This is especially true of employees who have been working for a long period of time with the employer and where there is no just cause to dismiss the employee. Employers must be very careful when considering firing an employee. Employers should not attempt to give advice to employees and employers should not attempt to coerce or to pressure the signing of a Release. A few good resources on the Ministry of Labour website may assist in determining what termination pay or severance pay an employee is entitled to ensure compliance with the the Employment Standards Act. These tools give a general idea and do not substitute legal advice from an employment lawyer. An employee may be entitled to a lot more compensation at common law.
Do not resign in anger if wrongfully dismissed
It is important not to resign if you suspect you are being wrongfully dismissed. There are many situations where an employee may believe that his or her time is up with the company, and a termination from employment is only a matter of time. If your supervisor or your employer has changed your duties, your pay, or the number of hours you are required to work without your consent, you may be the subject of a constructive dismissal.
Although you may feel like it’s a good idea to submit your resignation and walk away, it may actually be bad decision. An employee resignation has to be voluntary. You cannot be forced into a situation at work where you believe that you should quit because it’s only a matter of time before you are fired. There are many instances where employees who have resigned may be able to assert legal rights as though they have been wrongfully dismissed.
Find out what your legal rights are if wrongfully dismissed
The most important step if you suspect that you have been wrongfully dismissed is to find out your legal rights. Employment law and wrongful dismissal litigation are unfamiliar areas to many people. A wrongful dismissal lawyer can guide you and offer helpful legal advice. A consultation may save you a lot of headaches and may preserve your legal rights against your employer.
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