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Vice & Hunter LLP

Help is available for the fight against wrongful termination

The last thing an Ontario worker wants is to be dismissed from his or her employment. Most people are entirely reliant on their salaries, and the prospect of not earning an income while seeking a new job could cause severe anxiety. However, there are steps that can be taken when there is evidence of wrongful termination.

Under the Employment Standards Act, employers must give employees fair warning, and only just cause is a valid reason for instant dismissal. That is meant to cover an inexcusable act such as embezzlement, fraud or similar circumstances. However, the employer must prove such misconduct. Otherwise, the norm is to give adequate notice or severance pay equal to one month's income for every year in the company's employ.

A worker may not be fired because of a disability or while on extended leave such as pregnancy, parental or medical leave. However, employers sometimes find other reasons to dismiss employees during those times. Another tactic is to force a worker to resign by demoting the individual, reducing work hours or making life at work so unpleasant that the worker quits. A resignation typically removes the employer's responsibility to pay severance.

Any employee in Ontario who suspects his or her employer is planning a dismissal may be wise to keep notes of any written or oral communication, reprimands and disciplinary actions that could be used to prove wrongful termination. While it may seem intimidating to stand up to a large company, it is not necessary to fight this battle alone. With the support and guidance of an experienced employment law lawyer, it might be possible to recover severance pay, lost benefits and/or other damages sustained due to an unjust termination.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "Lost your job? What you should know about being dismissed", Accessed on Feb. 17, 2018

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