Do I Need a Wrongful Termination Lawyer?
After you are terminated from a job, your life is thrown into chaos. You know you need a new job, yes, but doesn’t your old employer also owe you severance pay? The concept of severance pay is often misunderstood. If you are subject to a wrongful dismissal, an Ontario employment lawyer can guide you through the process of receiving all that is owed to you.
What is Wrongful Dismissal in Ontario?
An employer can generally end your employment relationship for any legal reason, but they also owe you either:
- A proper “working notice” period before termination; or,
- An adequate severance package.
Unless the employer attempts to fire you “with cause,” you have a wrongful dismissal claim if you do not receive the proper notice or severance pay. You can only be terminated with cause for severe misconduct, such as willful negligence, harassment, or fraud, and your employer must adequately document the reasoning for your dismissal, or you have the right to severance pay.
What am I Owed After a Wrongful Dismissal?
Both statutory and common law rules govern how much reasonable notice of termination or severance pay their former employer owes a wrongfully dismissed employee in Ontario. The rules are complex and rely on numerous factors. Generally, a wrongfully dismissed employee in Ontario is owed:
- A minimum of one week’s wages per year of service, up to eight weeks, under the Employment Standards Act
- Contractual severance, if you signed an employment contract
- Common law severance if you did not sign an employment contract or the employment contract is invalid
- Aggravated or punitive damages if your former employer’s actions were outrageous, egregious, or in bad faith
An experienced employment lawyer can help explain how much you may be owed and whether your employer’s conduct qualifies you for additional aggravated or punitive damages.
Should I File a Wrongful Dismissal Lawsuit?
Wrongful dismissal cases in Ontario are often straightforward due to the nature of employment law. However, determining exactly how much you are owed can be complicated and require legal counsel that is well-versed in wrongful dismissal laws.
An employment lawyer can review the details of your termination and provide legal advice about the strength of your wrongful dismissal case. Most cases will settle before reaching court, and an experienced lawyer should make sure negotiations are balanced and fair. To ensure you receive everything a former employer owes you, having an experienced employment law lawyer advance claims on your behalf is often the best course of action.
Singh Lamarche LLP is a Toronto law firm specializing in wrongful dismissal employment law. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, book a consultation today.