Calgary & Strathmore Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers

Taking on a former employer with a wrongful dismissal claim can feel overwhelming. However, with an experienced employment lawyer by your side, you can level the playing field. 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 you feel your employer otherwise broke the law, Getz Collins and Associates can help.

Wrongful Dismissal in Alberta

Under the Employment Standards Code of Alberta, every employee has the right to receive notice or be paid an equivalent amount in place of notice of termination of their employment. If an employer fires an employee without notice or pay in lieu of notice, this is known as wrongful dismissal. If an employee is wrongfully dismissed, that employee can enforce their right for wage compensation and other benefits to continue during the duration of the notice period (or be paid the equivalent of that amount).

There are some circumstances in which an employer can dismiss an employee without reasonable notice, including when the employee is fired for just cause, is under a probationary period (usually the first three months of employment), or was hired on a temporary or seasonal basis.

What Is Reasonable Notice?

The length of notice to which an employee is entitled before termination is lawfully determined on a sliding scale after the employee’s ninety-day probationary period ends. As per the Employment Standards Code, an employee is entitled to the following amount of notice or pay in lieu of notice:

  • 90 days to 2 years of service: 1 week of notice;
  • 2 to 4 years of service: 2 weeks of notice;
  • 4 to 6 years of service: 4 weeks of notice;
  • 6 to 8 years of service: 5 weeks of notice;
  • 8 to 10 years of service: 6 weeks of notice;
  • 10 or more years of service: 8 weeks of notice.

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 some kind of misconduct that justified their immediate termination with no notice period. In this case, the employer is justified in saying the employment contract was violated on the employee’s end. Common allegations of just cause include (but are not limited to):

  • Insubordination or failure to follow policies or instructions for your job;
  • Incompetence or job performance incapability;
  • Theft or such acts of dishonesty while employed; or
  • Harassment of coworkers, management, customers, or other individuals while representing the company as an employee.

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 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.

Constructive Dismissal in Alberta

The topic of constructive dismissal has become increasingly common in discussions of wrongful dismissal. Constructive dismissal is a form of wrongful dismissal that occurs when an employee isn’t formally dismissed from their job, but it has become impossible for the employee to continue working. It arises when there has been some action on the employer’s part that constitutes a unilateral amendment of the employment contract.

Constructive dismissal is when an employer makes further employment immediately unsuitable for the employee, thereby causing the employee to quit without the employer providing reasonable notice. As constructive dismissal is a complex legal concept and can be challenging to prove, the employee should consult an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Getz Collins and Associates for Exceptional Wrongful Dismissal Advice in Calgary & Strathmore

The employment lawyers at Getz Collins and Associates have extensive experience providing advice and representation to non-unionized employees across Alberta in wrongful dismissal matters. We take all steps to negotiate a reasonable settlement whenever possible but are prepared to advocate vigorously for clients in litigation when needed, always while protecting the employee’s rights and interests throughout the process.

Getz Collins and Associates combine a community-focused approach with a big firm level of innovation and professionalism. We have convenient locations in Calgary and Strathmore and proudly serve clients across Alberta. Call us at 587-391-5600 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with our skilled employment law team.