Terminations – Almost Always an Employer’s Right

Termination -- Woman giving a man a pink slip

Contrary to popular opinion, any employee can be terminated at any time, and a reason is usually only needed if the termination is for cause. There is no restriction in Canadian employment law that prohibits an employer from terminating an employee, except for prohibited grounds under provincial and federal human rights legislation. Such prohibited grounds might include a person’s sex, age or disability.

Most dismissals, however, do not fall under such prohibitions and, as such, are generally uncontestable by the employee. However, even though the employee can be terminated at any time, many terminations can still be found to be wrongful for a number of different reasons.

When Can a Dismissal Be Contested?

Although some terminations in themselves are permissible, they may still be considered wrongful for a number of other reasons. Some examples include:

  • The employer fails to provide reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice;
  • The employer changes the fundamental terms of the employment contract without the employee’s agreement, otherwise known as constructive dismissal;
  • The termination is carried out in bad faith; or
  • The employer improperly alleges cause to terminate

Under such circumstances, an employee may decide to contest the dismissal by filing a complaint with the Ministry of Labour or by filing a claim through the court system.

For related case studies and more information on Terminations, search our blog.

More Concepts on Employment Terminations

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