Did my employer wrongfully dismiss me?

Losing a job is devastating. It means loss of income and having to try to find a new job; it can also place incredible stress on individuals and their families. Dismissed employees can also experience a tarnished reputation and loss of professional relationships.

Perhaps the only thing that can make this situation more upsetting is feeling that the dismissal was wrongful. But how do you know if your termination was wrongful?

Notice and or pay in lieu of notice

If you have been employed continuously for three months, your employer must give you written notice of your termination. The amount of time depends on the length of your employment. For instance, if you have been working somewhere for less than a year, your employer must give you a one-week notice; if you have worked there for between five and six years, you should receive notice five weeks before the termination date.

Employers who do not provide written notice must provide termination pay in lieu of notice. The amount of pay equals the regular wages you would have earned during the period you should have received written notice.

These are general guidelines. There are exceptional circumstances and rules that apply if you have an employment contract or if you were temporarily laid off, which changes termination options and protocol. To better understand your situation, you can talk to a lawyer.

Reasons for dismissal

An employer can dismiss employees for any number of reasons. Typically, they do not need to give a reason.

However, the Employment Standards Act dictates that employers cannot dismiss workers for exercising their rights under the ESA, which also protects workers from being terminated for discriminatory reasons.

On the other hand, your employer could let you go for engaging in wilful misconduct or neglect of duty. If this is the reason for your dismissal, you would not be entitled to the same notice and pay other employees must receive.

If you have been let go from your job and feel that you did not get proper notice or termination pay, you could have grounds for a legal claim against your former employer. Pursuing legal action can make it possible to collect financial damages you may deserve.