In Ontario, termination without cause (or absent workplace misconduct) occurs when an employee has been fired for a variety of reasons. An employer is entitled to terminate an employment relationship as a result of restructuring, work performance or as the employer sees fit.
Regardless, the employer must provide an employee reasonable notice of dismissal. Reasonable notice may come in the form of working notice, payment in lieu of notice or a combination of both.
In Ontario, for provincial jurisdiction employees, their entitlement at termination of employment is governed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000, which lists the minimum amount of reasonable notice. Unless an employee has an enforceable contract limiting the employee’s entitlement to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the employee is entitled to an additional notice period under common law in addition to statutory entitlements under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. When the severance package is less than an employee’s lawful entitlement, the employee can claim for wrongful dismissal damages.
Under common law or judge-made law, the court generally considers these non-exhaustive factors to determine an employee’s reasonable notice: age, length of service, character of employment and availability of similar employment. The court will balance and assess how these factors may affect the time it takes for an employee to find a comparable alternate employment. For instance, an older, longer service employee may be entitled to a higher notice period compared to a younger, short-service employee, as it would take the former a longer amount of time to look for a new job.
Essentially, the goal of common law damages is to make the employee “whole” again. As such, courts would weigh in on an employee’s bonuses, pensions, and other benefits to determine the employee’s full compensation.
Our team at Zubas Flett Law has the experience and knowledge and advocacy to ensure you maximize the compensation you ought to receive upon dismissal. Contact us to receive practical advice or to represent you on your wrongful dismissal matter.