Top 10 Things You Should Know About Your Rights After Getting Terminated

You can call it employment termination, job termination or just plain getting fired from your job. Being fired from your job is a hard situation to handle. Not only is it an embarrassing and emotional event, but you may be worried about the financial impact of losing your job. Because most Albertans do not understanding what their legal employment termination rights are after being fired from their job, they can sometimes get the short end of the stick.

Do NOT get pressured into signing something under duress. Read this find out the top ten things you should know about your employment termination rights before signing a release.

What Does Reasonable Notice Mean?

Did you know that, legally, when an employer dismisses or terminates you without cause, they may have to give you ‘reasonable notice’? This term refers to how much time an employer must let you know in advance of the date your job will be terminated. Most times, your employer may choose to have you stop working as soon as they give you the termination notice but pay you for that time. This is called ‘severance pay in lieu of notice’. In this case, employers will pay you severance instead of providing you with reasonable notice. How much reasonable notice or severance you will get depends on many factors. This is where it is important to have a employment lawyer review your exact situation. Learn more about what employment lawyers do to protect you for a reasonable flat rate here.

Did You Get Reasonable Notice Of Your Job Termination?

Employment termination rights mean that employers must give employees reasonable notice of their job termination when they are terminating without cause. If an employer fails to give you reasonable notice, they may be at risk of a wrongful dismissal claim and may be liable for damages. Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (“the Code”) requires provincially legislated employers to give their employees a minimum amount of notice before terminating an employee.

BUT, it is important to know that, under case law, many employees may be entitled to much more reasonable notice or severance because the Code sets out only the legal minimums. Learn about maximizing your termination pay here.

Are There Situations Where an Employer Does Not Have to Give Me a Termination Notice or a Severance Package?

Under the Code, employers are not legally required to give you termination notice or a severance package in certain situations, for example, if:

  • you have been employed for 3 months or less
  • you have been terminated for just cause
  • you refuse reasonable alternative work

BUT, under case law or common law, you may still be entitled to termination notice so it is important to discuss your individual circumstances with an employment lawyer.

Do I Have Employment Termination Rights If I Never Signed An Employment Contract?

If you have not signed a contract of employment, you are still entitled to reasonable notice. If no notice was given, your employer may be obligated to pay you in lieu of providing you with notice.

What Are My Legal Obligations After Being Terminated?

Even if you have a strong case against your employer for wrongful dismissal, you still have a duty to take all reasonable steps to lessen damages. This means that you must look for suitable alternative employment.

What Is Termination with Just Cause?

Just cause termination refers to when an employer has ended your employment due to serious misconduct to the point where your employment relationship cannot be repaired. If your employer had just cause (a valid reason) to terminate your employment, you will not be entitled to any reasonable termination notice or severance pay.

If you do not think your employer had just cause to fire you, you can challenge this. Call us – we can help determine if you have a case.

Are There Situations Where the Code Prohibits Employers from Terminating Employees?

Under the Code, an employer may not terminate your employment in certain situations. For example, your employment cannot be terminated if you have started maternity/paternity leave.

Are There Other Situations That Employers Cannot Legally Terminate Employees?

There are also more reasons under the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act) where employees are not allowed to be discriminated against and terminated in relation to specific protected grounds such as your age, gender, or race etc.

What is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is another form of wrongful dismissal. This occurs when your employer significantly changes the terms of your employment contract without your consent or without advance notice. Examples of this include when your salary is reduced and when your job duties changes fundamentally. You will get the same employment termination rights in these cases.

Since each situation is different and time sensitive, you should discuss your situation with our employment lawyer as soon as possible to help you determine if you have been constructively dismissed and whether your employer is legally required to pay you.

Pay Attention to the Termination Clause in Your Employment Contract

Sometimes, your employment contract will contain a ‘termination clause’ which may significantly lessen your entitlement to reasonable notice and/or severance pay. BUT, depending on the language used in the termination clause, it may not be legally enforceable, meaning; you may still be entitled to reasonable notice or severance pay. If you are terminated, it is a good idea to call our lawyers as soon as possible so that we can help you review your employment contract.

Need Legal Help With Employment Termination Rights?

Are you unsatisfied with how much advance notice or severance you were offered by your employer? You may be able to sue them for wrongful dismissal damages. The case law surrounding what is reasonable notice is quite complex and can depend on many factors including your age, the job position you held, and how long you worked at your company for, amongst other factors.

Kahane Law Office, in Calgary, Alberta is pleased to provide you with a range of services in the area of employment law including:

  • Reviewing your employment contract and giving advice on how much severance pay you are entitled to
  • Reviewing severance offers on a flat fee basis, and negotiating severance on a further contingency basis (you do not pay anything more unless we can get you more)
  • Litigation services for wrongful dismissal and human rights violations

You can reach us in Calgary at 403-225-8810 (toll-free at 1-877-225-8817), or email us here directly.