What is wrongful dismissal?

Region: Ontario Answer # 606

When can an employee be fired?

Contrary to what many people think, an employer can end a non-union employee’s job at any time, and for any reason. However, if you were fired, it is important to determine if you are entitled to notice or pay instead of notice, and severance pay.

What is wrongful dismissal?

If an employee is fired, the employer is required by law to give the employee a minimum amount of notice, or pay instead of notice, unless the employee was fired for willful misconduct or neglect of duty, which resulted in “just cause”. If an employee is not given proper notice or pay in lieu of notice, then, unless the employer had just cause, the employee is considered to have been wrongfully dismissed.

It is important to determine if you were wrongfully dismissed, because you may be entitled to a significant amount of money from your employer. Under the law, if your employer refuses to pay you what you are entitled to, then you have been wrongfully dismissed. However, if your employer gave you proper notice, or paid you all the money you were entitled to, it is not considered wrongful dismissal even if there was no cause for firing you.

If the employer had a good legal reason, or just cause, for firing you, then you are not entitled to notice or pay instead of notice, and you are not considered wrongfully dismissed.


What is ’cause’ for firing an employee?

An employee can be fired without proper notice if there was ’cause’, sometimes known as ‘just cause’. Cause for firing an employee may include:

  • an illegal act at the workplace, such as stealing or damaging property, or violent behaviour;
  • misrepresentation of important qualifications, such as saying you have a degree that you have not earned;
  • insubordination, such as refusing to do work assigned to you;
  • sexually harassing other employees;
  • constantly being late for work; and
  • fraud.

What is not ’cause’ for firing an employee?

Sometimes an employee does something wrong, but it is not a good legal reason to be fired without notice or pay. Reasons for firing an employee that are not cause under the law include:

  • if an employee does something minor and corrects the mistake;
  • if an employee’s work is not up to standard and the employer does nothing to address the problem;
  • if your employer does not like you;
  • if your employer discriminates against you because of your sex, race, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation, unless permitted by law.

Claims for wrongful dismissal can involve substantial amounts of money. If you think you were wrongfully dismissed you should consult a lawyer.

More information on termination of employment may also be found from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-877-219-1644 or learn more at Federal Pardon Waiver Services. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with employment matters, contact our preferred Employment lawyers, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP . 

If you have been wrongfully dismissed because of an injury, contact our preferred Personal Injury lawyers, Bergmanis Preyra LLP . They offer a free consultation and do not charge up-front fees.

If you have lost your job and are considering taking action against your former employer, find out your chances of winning before you go to court. Contact our preferred experts, Blue J Legal. They use software powered by artificial intelligence to predict legal outcomes with 90%+ accuracy and provide reports that tell you your chances of winning and reasons why.

Blue J Legal EmploymentBlue J Legal Employment

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Bergmanis Preyra Employment ON 594/601/606/607  April 5, 2018Bergmanis Preyra Employment ON 594/601/606/607  April 5, 2018


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