The world of employment law can be a complex one, with many rules and regulations surrounding both employers and employees. On both sides, wrongful dismissal is perhaps one of the most essential items to be aware of and an area where it is well worth seeking expert advice.
What is wrongful dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal is said to have occurred when an employee is dismissed for any reason other than ‘just cause’ – that is, gross misconduct, or for breaching terms and conditions which are set out in the contract.
This situation is different to a case where just cause is found. The distinction, however, is essential.
Where the employer has ‘cause’ for the dismissal, the fired employee is entitled to nothing other than any wages or entitlements which are outstanding at the time of the termination. Where wrongful dismissal can be proven, however, the employee may be entitled to compensation.
What is constructive dismissal?
Constructive dismissal occurs when a basic term of an employee’s contract is altered without their consent, such as a salary reduction. This act is a form of wrongful dismissal, as it is forcing the employee into an unpleasant situation where they have no choice but to terminate the employment.
Other examples can include dismissal based on discrimination, such as race, gender, or sexuality. Retaliation is also an example; this occurs when the termination is out of spite or malice, for example in response to a grievance or personal issue.
What can I do?
If you feel you have a case for wrongful dismissal, the first thing to do is to contact a reliable employment lawyer at levittllp.com/service/wrongful-dismissal, who will be able to advise whether you have a case.
What Shouldn’t I Sign?
If you think your case is valid, it’s important not to sign any severance packages, separation agreements or exit packages until you have consulted with a lawyer – your employer may not tell you that you have a right to legal advice before signing.
Signing a severance package could leave you out of pocket. It’s important to remember that wrongful termination is a breach of your contract of employment. Because of this, you may end up being entitled to far more than your employer offers in such a package; this knowledge is often why they are so keen for you to sign. Agreeing to a severance package may mean you miss out on compensation and additional severance pay which can ultimately add up to months, or even years, of lost wages.
Another issue with severance packages is the restrictions they may place on an employee’s plans. Some companies require a signature stating that you will not seek work with any competition or contact any clients of the company. This clause can pose a problem if you wish to continue to work in the same industry.
It is important to remember that the Employment Standards Acts prohibits an employee from suing their employer for wrongful dismissal if they have filed a claim for severance pay. This claim can, however, be withdrawn and a lawsuit started in a short window after filing.
To make sure you don’t miss out, get in touch with an employment lawyer, and learn your rights before taking action.