What is a Wrongful Dismissal in Alberta?
Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employee is dismissed or terminated from their employment but are not provided reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice. In Alberta, the Employment Standards Code sets out the minimum amount of termination notice that must be provided to provincially regulated employees upon termination. However, many employees are entitled to more than the minimum amount of notice set out in the Code. When an employer fails to provide reasonable notice, an employee may be in a position to sue the employer for wrongful dismissal.
What Are Some Examples of Wrongful Dismissal Claims?
- Where an employer terminates an employee without cause, but fails to provide termination notice, reasonable notice or pay in lieu of reasonable notice.
- Where an employer makes a false or inappropriate claim that they have just cause to terminate an employee, and fails to provide them with reasonable notice, or pay in lieu of notice.
- Where an employer constructively dismisses an employee by making unilateral changes to fundamental terms of the employee’s contract without prior notice, or otherwise makes the employee’s work environment intolerable or unsafe.
- Where an employer terminates an employee without providing them with required entitlements pursuant to employment standards legislation such as vacation pay, or other benefits as set out in the Employment Standards Code.
What Are You Entitled to In a Wrongful Dismissal Claim in Alberta?
If you chose to bring a wrongful dismissal claim against your employer, you may be entitled to different types of compensation, depending on the facts of your particular matter. Damages arising from a wrongful dismissal claim usually include the amount of pay in lieu of notice that you would have been entitled to, had reasonable notice of termination been provided.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your termination, a court may also award aggravated damages, if the manner of termination was cruel or humiliating enough to create significant mental distress. In certain extreme cases, a court may also award damages called “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are only awarded in very egregious cases, where the employer’s conduct up to and including termination was clearly directed at causing harm to the employee.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If you have been wrongfully dismissed, a lawyer can help calculate the amount of reasonable notice that you may be entitled to under the law, as well as any other damage entitlements. Many employment matters are able to settle before ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Our skilled employment lawyers can represent you at all levels of the process by helping to negotiate a potential settlement for you, pursuing alternative dispute resolution where appropriate, and representing you during litigation.