What Is Wrongful Dismissal? Do I Need a Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer Toronto?

What Is Wrongful Dismissal? Do I Need a Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer Toronto? Your Wrongful Termination Lawyer Questions Answered

Thousands of people lose their jobs every year. Unfortunately, many of these terminated employees sign away their rights despite having a legal claim for wrongful dismissal, which could net them thousands of dollars in damages. So what is a wrongful dismissal? And when should you retain the services of a wrongful dismissal lawyer Toronto? Our expert termination lawyer, Gil Fischler, is here to answer your questions. 

What Is Wrongful Dismissal?

So what is a wrongful dismissal exactly? Essentially, a wrongful dismissal means that an employer has terminated an employee without meeting the requirements outlined in the Employment Standards Act, 2000

Substantively, that means that if you are terminated from your position, at a minimum, your employer owes you:

  • Notice of termination or payment in lieu of notice of termination,
  • Benefit continuance throughout the notice period,
  • All outstanding wages, including vacation pay, and
  • Potentially severance pay in addition to notice pay

You may have been wrongfully dismissed if your employer failed to provide you with all of your statutory entitlements. 

But it’s also not as simple as that. Your employer must not only meet the minimum amounts of severance pay outlined in the Employment Standards Act, but also must provide severance pay in accordance with common law standards. 

Employment Termination Lawyer Note: 
Common law and statutory law are different. Statutory law refers to laws that have been passed by legislative branches like, in the case of the Employment Standards Act, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Common law takes into account precedent – ruling by judges that then informs how cases will be adjudicated thereafter. Expert wrongful dismissal Ontario lawyers know that while the statute offers a minimum standard amount for severance pay, you may in fact be entitled to much more under common law. 

It’s important to note that ‘wrongful dismissal’ does not imply that the employer broke the law when firing an employee or dismissed them for invalid reasons. In fact, your employer can terminate your position for pretty much any reason – provided that it isn’t for an unlawful reason, including any reason that would be contrary to the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19 (the Human Rights Code protects employees against discriminatory behaviour when hiring and firing).

An employer may also terminate an employee without notice of termination or termination pay in cases where the employer can demonstrate that the employee was guilty of wilful misconduct, disobedience or wilful neglect of duty that is not trivial and has not been condoned by the employer. This is a very difficult case to make in most situations, so if you have been terminated without notice or pay in lieu of notice, you are always better off getting a free consultation from an employment lawyer Toronto to discuss your case.

Which brings us to our next question: do I need a wrongful dismissal lawyer Toronto? 

Do I Need a Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer Toronto? 

If you’ve been terminated without cause, your employer owes you adequate notice or pay in lieu thereof in addition to severance pay. 

Your employment lawyer would help you fight to earn you the severance pay you deserve, and in some cases you may even be entitled to aggravated or punitive damages. That means that you may be entitled to more than just your base severance pay. 

Wrongful dismissal lawyers are adept at quickly helping you determine if you do in fact have a case against your former employer. Best yet, you can typically schedule a free consultation with a wrongful dismissal lawyers, so you can meet and discuss your options without any financial obligation. 

Wrongful Termination Lawyer Explains Severance Payouts

If you are a non-unionized employee working in Ontario and your employer ended your employment immediately or sooner than the notice period allotted by the Employment Standards Act and relevant common law, that’s where severance comes in. 

The idea behind severance is that it provides a financial cushion for the period of unemployment you’re likely to face or give you ample time to seek out new employment before you lose your income. 

Severance pay, however, is not equal for all workers. It varies based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: 

  • Your salary
  • Your age
  • Your time with the company
  • Your ability to find new employment
  • Your benefits
  • Your bonuses
  • The type of position you had

For example, if you’re a long-time employee of a company and in a specialized position, then you are entitled to much higher standards of notice and severance pay. In some cases, you may be entitled to upwards of 24 months of severance pay. 

It’s always worth investigating whether you have received adequate notice and severance relative to the above factors, as this can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in potentially missed entitlements. 

What Should You Do After You’ve Been Let Go? Find a Wrongful Termination Lawyer

The unfortunate fact is that many employees who are the victims of wrongful dismissal often sign away their rights when given termination papers without consulting a lawyer. This could preclude your ability to file a wrongful dismissal claim (but not always – best to check with a wrongful termination lawyer). 

You should try as best as you can, instead, to keep written records of all that happened from the moment of your termination. That way, during your free consultation with an employment lawyer, you can provide a comprehensive accounting of the facts, which in turn will help your potential lawyer gain a better understanding of your case, chances of success, potential payout, etc. 

It’s worth noting that some people are averse to an employment lawyer Toronto free consultation because they’re afraid of a lengthy legal process that could take years and involve weeks in Court. 

The good news is that 98% of civil suits never make it to the Courts. Why is this good news? Because it means that, more often than not, your employer would rather settle the issue quickly and out of view of the public rather than have a Court hearing that exposes their potential wrongdoing or negligence. 

What’s more, your employer would have to pay expensive legal teams throughout the entire process, whereas a quick settlement can put the matter to rest and may even be the more financially efficient option for your employer. 

Your wrongful dismissal lawyer, by contrast, may operate on a contingency fee, which means that they only receive pay from the eventual settlement or ruling, meaning that they don’t get paid unless you win your case.

Work with a Leading Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer Toronto

If you believe that you may have been the victim of a wrongful dismissal, then you may be entitled to damages and additional severance pay. Employers count on employees not knowing their rights; our team of qualified Toronto employment lawyers can help you make your case. 

We have the combination of dedication, expertise, and thoughtfulness needed to help you reach the best possible outcome in your unique situation. Get an employment lawyer, Toronto free consultation so we can better assess your wrongful dismissal claim and begin building your case. Get in touch with us today to protect your employment rights. Call us for a free consultation.