Can my employer terminate me for any reason?
Yes. An employer can terminate whoever they want, whenever they want, so long as they provide the employee with proper notice of the termination, or the proper payment in lieu of notice, and the reason for the termination is not discriminatory. This is considered a termination without cause.
Is my severance offer reasonable?
Employees are entitled to a minimum amount of termination pay under the Employment Standards Code of Alberta and they may also be entitled to severance pay under the common law in Alberta. The reasonableness of the amount of severance being offered is based on a variety of factors set out in the Bardal case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. A good employment lawyer can review the offer to determine if your severance offer is fair, based on all these factors.
Am I entitled to severance if I am terminated for cause?
The quick answer is no. If you are terminated “for cause”, and the employer can prove they had cause to terminate you, then the employer does not have to pay you termination pay or severance. What is “cause” for termination is a moving target and involves a review of all facts leading up to the actual termination and should most definitely be reviewed by a lawyer to see if you have been wrongfully dismissed.
What is the difference between Employment Law and Labour Law?
Employment Law is an area of the law that deals with the employer and employee relationships. It involves non-unionized situations. Employment law is governed by provincial and federal employment standards legislation and by the common law and individual employment contracts.
Labour law is an area of law that deals with employees and employers in a union context. Labour rights can be collective or individual and the rights of the parties are typically set out in collective bargaining agreements. Labour law is governed by the Labour Relations Code in Alberta and by the terms of each individual collective agreement.