Wrongful Termination Lawyers in Calgary, AB Upholding Your Right to Compensation
If you’ve felt that you’ve experienced a wrongful dismissal, it may be time to speak with an employment lawyer versed in the subject. If an employer terminated you without reasonable notice or during a given notice period, you did not receive proper severance pay after working notice, or otherwise broke employment law, you can seek legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer with Getz Collins and Associates. Call 403-934-2500 today and set an appointment with one of several employment lawyers who can help you with wrongful dismissal claims.
Taking on a former employer with a wrongful dismissal claim can feel overwhelming. However, with an experienced employment lawyer by your side, you’ve evened the playing field. Wrongful dismissal is not only highly prohibited in Albertan employment law but at the federal level as well.
In this post, we will go over the following:
- Wrongful Dismissal
- Constructive Dismissal
- “Just Cause” Termination
- Proper Reasonable Notice
- How Employment Lawyers Can Help
What Happens When an Employer Fails to Give Reasonable Notice?
Every employee has the right to receive notice or be paid an equivalent amount in place of notice of termination of their employment, as clearly stated by the government of Alberta. If an employer fires an employee without notice or pay, this is known as wrongful dismissal. If an employee is wrongfully dismissed, that employee should enforce their right for wage compensation and other benefits to continue during the duration, or in the equivalent of, a notice.
Employees have legal rights to receive minimum notice periods from their soon-to-be former employer, a working notice, or severance pay equal to what an employee would have earned during a reasonable notice period. However, there are three types of dismissals that employment lawyers will tell you are grounds to let an employee go, lacking a reasonable notice period, and have grounds for a wrongful dismissal case:
- The employee has been fired for just cause, which we will cover
- The employee has been employed for a period of fewer than ninety days (this is often referred to as a “probationary period”)
- The employee is staffed based on a temporary or seasonal basis
What is a Reasonable Notice Period?
Wrongful dismissal lawyers will tell you that the length of time given to employees before a notice is considered “reasonable” is different depending on how long the employee has worked at the position. It is determined on a sliding scale, with a longer termination notice period for employees that have worked for longer periods.
The length of notice to which an employee is required before termination is lawfully determined on a sliding scale after the employee’s ninety-day probationary period ends.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time between 90 days and two years, then reasonable notice is one week.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time between two years and four years, then reasonable notice is two weeks.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time between four years and six years, then reasonable notice is four weeks.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time between six years and eight years, then reasonable notice is five weeks.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time between eight years and ten years, then reasonable notice is six weeks.
- If an employee has been in a position or otherwise employed with a company any time greater than ten years, then reasonable notice is eight weeks.
What is Constructive Dismissal?
Constructive dismissal is a form of wrongful dismissal or termination that is not easily understood by those outside the field of employment law. Wrongful dismissal lawyers explain that if an employee isn’t dismissed from a position of employment by being given a formal termination letter but has had their job rendered impossible to continue, this unequivocally changes the employment contract upon which the two parties (employer and employee) agreed. This is known as a “constructive dismissal.”
Essentially, constructive dismissal is when an employer makes further employment immediately unsuitable for the employee, thereby causing the employee to quit without the employer having to provide reasonable notice or exercising their legal rights to severance pay in lieu of notice. When this type of wrongful dismissal occurs, it can sometimes be difficult for the employee to prove, which is why the employee should seek out legal advice from a law firm committed to achieving that employee their rightful notice period pay.
How Does an Employer Make Employment Unsuitable for Continued Employment?
When employers choose to alter the terms of employment contracts that cause instances of constructive dismissals, it can ease the responsibility of the employers themselves. They may do so by changing the terms of the employment contracts surrounding:
- Health benefits
- Retirement benefits
- Paid time off
- Maternity or paternity leave
These changes may occur and harm individual employees’ livelihoods. Depending on the size of the company, that could cause a large number of individuals to have to seek work elsewhere, as the reasons they had held the job have been taken away from them. This is known as constructive dismissal. Since the employees quit instead of being laid off, the employer lost its employees without having to pay a severance package to each one of them or provide notice of a layoff.
However, reasonable adjustments to an employer’s policy are well within the legal rights of the employers. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the corporation making these changes may very well have several legitimate reasons for having changed the policy and may not have been trying to provoke its employees to leave. This is why employment and workplace law is a tricky field. Capitalism works best when the employer, employee, and consumer have a working relationship, and sometimes these disagreements happen.
When these changes occur and harm an employee’s livelihood, a company is said to have committed constructive dismissal. However, an employer has a right to make reasonable amendments to their policy, which they may have several legitimate reasons for doing.
What is “Just Cause” for Termination?
Even after a lawsuit has been filed, an employer may claim that the dismissal was based on “just cause.” In doing so, the employer is alleging that the employee had committed severe misconduct or minor misconduct repetitively. In this case, the employer is justified in saying that the employment contract was violated on the employee’s end. Common allegations of just cause are:
- Insubordination or failure to follow policies or instructions for your job
- Incompetence or job performance incapability
- Theft or other such acts of dishonesty while employed
- Harassment of coworkers, management, customers, or other individuals while representing the company as an employee
- Any combination of the above or other reasons
Proving cause for termination can be difficult, but it can be in the employer’s best interest to do so. Not only does it save them from being responsible for your severance package, but it can easily clear up positions that the company has considered redundant or no longer necessary. However, it can leave an employee in dire straights if terminated without reasonable notice, giving them no time to search for a new position.
What Are Your Options if Wrongfully Dismissed in Alberta?
It is difficult to cover every possible scenario in a small post such as this. Have an employment lawyer look at your case specifically and determine what best you can do to move forward. If you are ready, call Getz Collins and Associates at 403-934-2500 to schedule a time for consultation. Whether you decide to move toward recompense from your employer or not, having experienced lawyers with you can prove incalculably helpful.