Were you wrongfully dismissed from your job by your employer in Toronto?
It is very difficult in the Province of Ontario for an employer to terminate an employee for just cause. A termination of employment for just cause is the exceptional situation. Typically, the employee is terminated without cause and the analysis focuses on assessing the reasonableness of the severance package.
In the Province of Ontario, employees’ statutory rights in a provincially regulated company are protected by a number of statutes including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA 2000”). An employee employed by a federally regulated employer (ie. a bank) is governed by the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”).
The ESA 2000 and CLC provide employees with their minimum entitlements upon termination without cause. The employer is statutorily obligated to pay these amounts to an employee. Of significance is that the employee’s rights are far greater at common law and many employees are not aware of this.
The common law is based upon court decisions. The common law views the employment relationship as a contractual relationship regardless of whether an employee has signed an employment contract. When an employer terminates an employee without cause, the employee is entitled to reasonable notice at common law or severance in lieu of reasonable notice.
The common law sets out certain factors which are considered in determining what the appropriate notice period are including the following:
- the employee’s length of service;
- type of employment position; and
- employee’s age.
A variation in any of these factors ie. a 60 year old employee compared to a 40 year old employee with all other factors the same, will result in two completely different severance packages.
What To Bring to the Initial Legal Consultation about Wrongful Dismissal
- Copy of Written Employment Agreement/Employment Offer (if any);
- Copy of Severance package;
- T4 Income for prior year;
- Current base salary, bonus, benefits, etc.
- Copy of Pension Statement (if any)
- Copies of warning notices (if any) where just cause is being alleged
“Work is one of the most fundamental aspects of a person’s life, providing the individual with a means of financial support and, as important, a contributory role in society. A person’s employment is an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being.”
(Supreme Court of Canada – Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd.  3. S.C.R.)