Toronto Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer

Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer terminates an employee without providing sufficient notice or pay in lieu of notice, as required by law. In Ontario, an employer is entitled to terminate an employee at any time, and for any reason. However, when terminated without cause, most Ontario employees are entitled to a minimum amount of reasonable notice under the Employment Standards Act. If the employer is unable or unwilling to provide notice, they must compensate the employee for that time with termination pay (or ‘pay in lieu’ of notice). In addition to termination pay, some employees may also be entitled to severance pay when terminated without cause. If an employer does not provide these entitlements to a qualified employee, they may be liable for damages in a wrongful dismissal claim.

Haynes Law Firm advises employees on their claim for compensation after being wrongfully dismissed. Paulette Haynes is a respected employment lawyer with nearly three decades of practical and academic employment law experience. Her considerable knowledge, straightforward advice, and approachable nature make her a highly sought-after advocate by employees looking to enforce their post-termination rights. Paulette understands the extreme stress employees face when dismissed without adequate compensation and always seeks the most efficient and cost-effective path towards resolution. If a matter proceeds to litigation, Paulette is a skilled and compelling advocate who works diligently to secure a successful outcome for her clients.

What is Wrongful Dismissal?

When an employer terminates an employee without cause and fails to provide sufficient notice, or pay in lieu of notice, the employee has been wrongfully dismissed. Notably, if an employee is constructively dismissed, the employee will also likely be entitled to make a claim for wrongful dismissal.

Reasonable Notice and Termination Pay in Ontario

The amount of reasonable notice and termination pay owed to an employee depends on the law that governs their employment.

Notice for Employees Governed by the Employment Standards Act

Employees are entitled to a minimum period of reasonable notice under the Employment Standards Act. The notice period is based on the employee’s length of service, as follows:

Duration of EmploymentNotice Period Under the ESA
Less than one year  1 week
At least 1 year but less than 3 years2 weeks
At least 3 years but less than 4 years3 weeks
At least 4 years but less than 5 years4 weeks
At least 5 years but less than 6 years5 weeks
At least 6 years but less than 7 years6 weeks
At least 3 years but less than 4 years7 weeks
8 years or more  8 weeks

Notice for Employees Not Governed by the Employment Standards Act

Not all employees in Ontario are covered by the Employment Standards Act. Most federally regulated industries fall under the Canada Labour Code which has its own mandatory notice periods and severance entitlements. For other exempted workers, their notice periods may be governed by several different laws, contracts, or collective agreements. Workers not covered by the Employment Standards Act should contact an employment lawyer for advice about their entitlement to termination pay, severance pay, and other entitlements.

Common Law Notice

Employees may also be entitled to common-law notice, which has been established over time through the case law. While the statutory notice period is relatively modest, the common law notice period often provides significantly more time, based on several factors including:

  • The age of the employee at termination
  • The employee’s role
  • The length of service
  • The availability of similar employment

Severance Pay in Ontario

In addition to termination pay or pay in place of notice, some employees may be entitled to severance pay. Severance pay compensates long-term employees for losses such as seniority and opportunities for promotion. It should be noted that not all employees are entitled to severance pay. To qualify for severance pay, the following criteria must be met:

  • The employee was employed by the employer for at least five years; and
  • The employer has a global payroll of at least $2.5 million; or
  • The employer terminated 50 or more employees with a six-month period due to the permanent closure of all or part of the business.

Under the Employment Standards Act, severance pay is calculated as one week’s pay per year of service, to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay.

Termination Packages and Agreements

In many situations, employers will offer a termination package to employees at the time of their dismissal. While employers may be eager to settle matters with the dismissed employee as quickly as possible, employees should ensure they understand their legal rights prior to accepting the offered package.

The terms of a termination agreement can have significant effects on the employee’s future employment opportunities and may try to restrict their ability to work in certain jobs or geographical areas. Other terms may require the employee from speaking about certain aspects of their work history or termination. The team at Haynes Law Firm can review the terms of a termination package and advise the employee about the fairness or enforceability of any offered compensation and/or restrictions.

Contact Haynes Law Firm in Toronto for Advice and Representation in Wrongful Dismissal Matters

At Haynes Law Firm, we help wrongfully dismissed employees obtain the compensation to which they are entitled. We bring the experience necessary to place our clients on equal footing with their employer in any dispute. Paulette Haynes is renowned for her effective negotiation and litigation skills, and she works with employees to find efficient and economical resolutions for their wrongful dismissal claims. To discuss how the employment law team at Haynes Law Firm can assist you, please contact us online, or by phone at 416-593-2731.