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An Ontario Employment Lawyer Explains Wrongful Dismissal

When you lose your job, it can be an emotionally charged and confusing time. Those who have been dismissed, fired, or permanently laid off from their job, have many questions about what is fair and reasonable under the circumstances especially around just cause for being fired and wrongful dismissal.

Do I need to hire an Ontario employment lawyer?

An employee can choose to sue an employer for wrongful dismissal, or submit a claim to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for an investigation of the termination or severance, but cannot do both. Because of this, many turn to an Ontario employment lawyer to answer their questions and help explain the process step by step.
First, let’s clarify exactly what constitutes “employment termination”. According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) a person’s employment is terminated if the employer:

  • dismisses or stops employing an employee, including an employee who is no longer employed due to the bankruptcy or insolvency of the employer;
  • “constructively dismisses” an employee and the employee resigns, in response, within a reasonable time; (we’ll discuss constructive dismissal in a moment)
  • lays an employee off for a period that is longer than a temporary layoff.

What happens if I am fired after my probationary period?

In most cases, if an employer lets an employee go or fires them after they have been continuously employed for three months, the employer has to provide the employee with either written notice of termination, termination pay or a combination (the notice and the termination pay together must equal the length of notice the employee is entitled to receive).


What is wrongful dismissal in Ontario?

Sometimes, an Ontario employment litigation lawyer may be required to help determine if yours is a case of wrongful dismissal. We will use our understanding of employment law to understanding of the details and context of your workplace situation, help answer your questions, and advise you if your scenario falls under the category of wrongful dismissal.
Wrongful dismissal can include being terminated, fired or permanently laid off without reasonable notice or cause. In some cases, circumstances surrounding the employment termination will be considered a constructive dismissal instead.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is best defined as a situation when an employer makes a significant change to a fundamental term or condition of an employee’s employment without the employee’s actual or implied consent.
If the employer makes changes to the employee’s terms and conditions of employment that result in a significant reduction in salary or a significant change in things like the employee’s work location, hours of work, authority, or position it could be considered constructive dismissal.
If the employer creates a situation where the employee feels forced to either quit or be fired, and the employee resigns, it could also be considered as constructive dismissal.

What can an employment lawyer do for me?

If you choose to hire one of our employment lawyers to investigate your claim, or represent your case in a court of law, we will work to make sure that you reach a fair resolution to help you get life back to normal as quickly as possible.
Contact one of our employment lawyers about workplace related issues and to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your job loss.


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