Unless it is specifically agreed that an employee will only be employed for a set term, the employer must give proper notice or compensation in lieu of notice, in order to lay off or end the employment relationship.
Notice or severance pay is not necessary if the employee’s misconduct or incompetence gives the employer “cause” to invoke summary dismissal. In that case, the employee’s employment can be brought to an immediate end. If, however, there is not justification to claim “cause” (see the articles on termination for cause), the employer must give notice to pay in lieu of notice. In wrongful dismissal cases, the employee is often entitled to severance pay greater than that set out in the Employment Standards Act or the initial severance offer. In this situation, the employee should consult with a lawyer experienced in employment law matters.
Length of Notice Required
The length of notice required varies with each situation. Things that are considered in determining the appropriate length of notice are the following:
- • the character of the employment
- • the length of service
- • the age of the employee
- • the availability of comparable employment, having regard to the experience, training and qualifications of the employee
- • the economic environment
- • the manner in which the employee has been terminated
The reasoning behind these factors is to cushion the worker against the blow of unemployment, to recognize the worker’s seniority, to protect the employee who has been induced to leave a secure job to work for the employer, to discourage employers from handling terminations in an unprofessional manner, to reward the employee for good prior service and to penalize him or her for poor service and to reward employees in high status occupations.
We can assist you in determining what the appropriate severance package is in your circumstances.
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We offer specialized advice in employment law, including contract negotiation, wrongful and constructive dismissal, disciplinary measures, human rights, harassment and Employment Standards issues.
For a consultation with our employment lawyer please call 905-847-2826.