Wrongful Termination Lawyers in Strathmore AB Helping Employees Uphold Their Rights
It can make all the difference to consult with a lawyer about your options upon a termination you feel was wrongful. An employer may be subject to paying for damages accrued and may also owe you for banked vacation pay and other benefits. Your company has lawyers protecting its interests, so you must turn to someone who will even the playing field. Call Getz Collins and Associates today to set an appointment to get a consult from a lawyer with a background in wrongful termination suits. 403-934-2500
You may sometimes feel small and powerless as an employee, especially if the company that terminates your employment is extensive and financially immense. The good news is that you have certain rights as an employee, even after your termination and Albertan employment laws exist to back them up. Wrongful dismissal is highly prohibited not only at the provincial level but federally as well. So whether you’ve been let go, downsized, made redundant, fired, released, or terminated, or they’ve gone in a different direction, exercised another option, or deconstructed your department, you may have opportunities of which you weren’t aware.
Can Your Employment Be Terminated Without Notice or Reason in Alberta?
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.
There are currently only three scenarios in which an employer can terminate the employment of an employee without notice or payment;
- The employee has been fired for just cause (more on that later)
- 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
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.
- From 90 days employed to 2 years employed: 1 week of notice
- From 2 years employed to 4 years employed: 2 weeks of notice
- From 4 years employed to 6 years employed: 4 weeks of notice
- From 6 years employed to 8 years employed: 5 weeks of notice
- From 8 years employed to 10 years employed: 6 weeks of notice
- For greater than 10 years employed: 8 weeks of notice
What is Constructive Termination?
Constructive termination is a form of wrongful termination that can often be misunderstood. If an employee has not been dismissed from employment by receiving a formal termination yet has had their job rendered impossible to continue, this unilateral changes the terms upon which the two parties agreed. These could include changes in:
- Health benefits
- Retirement benefits
- Paid time off
- Maternity or paternity leave
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.
An example of a scenario that is not a case of constructive termination;
Jeanie has always wanted a family, so she was happy to work at a company that offered significant maternity leave. However, not long after Jeanie was hired, the company changed its policy and shortened the maternity leave provided. Jeanie isn’t pregnant yet, but when she becomes pregnant, it will be challenging to say that the company’s policy change was an example of constructive termination.
However, consider the following scenario:
Ash’s pregnancy is in its third trimester. As she is meeting with the individuals who will cover her responsibilities while she is gone, her boss walks into her office.
“Ash, I forgot to tell you. The company is not going to accept your length of maternity leave. You’ll need to come back a month earlier.”
This scenario is more likely to be considered a substantial change to terms of employment that Ash considered fundamental. Therefore, Ash may seek to accuse the company of constructive termination.
What is “Just Cause” for Termination?
If an employer claims your termination was based on just cause, they allege you have committed severe or minor, repetitive misconduct. In this case, the relationship between yourself and your employer is considered severed beyond repair.
The employer’s onus is to prove that their allegations of just cause were founded in reality. Some common allegations an employer may levy when claiming just cause:
- Insubordination or failure to follow policies or instructions for your job
- Incompetence or job performance incapabilities
- 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
While it can be difficult for an employer to prove just cause for termination, the benefits are heavily in favor of them to do so. Depending on your position’s nature, a just cause termination may save your employer upwards of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance pay. Alternatively, it can leave the employee in a bind, having had no reasonable notice of termination, as it is not required for termination with just cause.
What Are Your Options if Wrongfully Dismissed in Alberta?
Every scenario differs, and it can prove to be challenging to write blanket advisements for all possible extant situations. If you believe you have been the victim of wrongful dismissal by an employer, there is always an option to consider litigation. When you are ready to speak with a lawyer, call the offices of Gatz Collins and Associates at (403) 934-2500 to schedule a time for a consult today.