Insight

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee

Mediation, Negotiation, Lawsuit

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee
SB

Stacey Reginald Ball

November 6, 2019 11:00 AM

Have you been dismissed from your employment, you firmly believe there’s no legal reason for the dismissal, and not been given a proper notice? The truth is that you have been dismissed wrongfully, and the law can protect you. Before you file a lawsuit, it’s wise to try to negotiate with your employer as court processes can sometimes be costly and take a long time.

In case you don’t know your rights or you need clarification about your legal options, consult with an experienced lawyer prior to signing or putting forward your written demands. Even if your employer gave notice or paid you instead of the notice, the chances are that you’re entitled to severance pay or additional wages. Therefore, if you believe that you got dismissed wrongfully and you intend to know more about filing a lawsuit, talk to a lawyer who specializes in employment law.

What’s wrongful dismissal?

In Ontario, the law allows an employer to terminate a worker without a course from their job for many reasons. However, they must offer a notice of employment termination ahead of time or provide payment in lieu of the termination notice. This payment is known as termination pay or severance payment.

Generally, a wrongful dismissal occurs whenever an employer terminates a worker without offering them advance notice of the termination or severance pay, according to the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The victim can commence a wrongful dismissal action against the employer by filing a claim seeking monetary compensation.

Note that wrongful dismissal doesn’t imply that the employer’s primary reason for firing the worker violated any employment regulation, was untruthful or wrong. According to the law, an employer has the right to terminate an employment contract for all lawful reasons, including the fact that they don’t like you. Wrongful termination occurs once the employer fails to provide a notice in time, or you were fired because of malicious intent.

If you lost your job and you intend to take legal action against your former employer, it’s wise to seek the help of a reputable lawyer who specializes in employment law. Here are some of the options you might pursue.

Negotiation

Not everyone understands all aspects of employment law, and it can be challenging for you to understand what your rights are. The easiest solution is to try to resolve the issue with your employer in person. Consider setting up a meeting to discuss your concerns and negotiate a fair settlement amount. Before you attend the meeting, write down all the relevant details regarding your situation.

In the event that your employer doesn’t attend the meeting or fails to agree to what you requested for, seek the help of an experienced lawyer or file a lawsuit. Sometimes, a well-written letter from a reputable employment lawyer is enough to push an employer to pay the settlement amount requested. In case your employer chooses not to pay the settlement amount or what you are owed, it’s time to file a lawsuit in court.

Wrongful dismissal lawsuit

In Ontario, Canada, if the specific amount you’re claiming is $25,000 or less, the law allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer in Small Claims Court. In case the amount is higher than $25,000, you are supposed to file your case in a higher court.

In most cases, employers prefer not to incur the hefty court-related expenses and might choose to pay the wrongfully dismissed employee to settle the issue. Actually, very few cases go to trial, and even if they do, the employer may offer to settle at any stage of litigation. It’s in your best interest to get your lawyer to negotiate with the employer before taking the matter to court.

Once you opt to sue the employer, you can demand three forms of compensation. First, the law allows you to claim that you were dismissed wrongfully and demand the monetary compensation, which equals the specific notice period you were entitled to before dismissal.

Second, in the event that your employer fired you in a humiliating or cruel way, and due to the employer’s actions, you suffered mental distress, the law allows to demand special compensation. Lastly, if your dismissal was based on malice or intention of causing you harm or personal embarrassment, you can demand money (as a form of compensation) as a way of punishing your employer for his or her choices.

Often, claims aimed at punishing an employer or for mental distress are only awarded in extreme cases. Therefore, your probability of winning the case will depend on the unique facts associated with your situation. Retaining the services of an experienced employment lawyer could boost your chances of getting fair compensation.

Arbitration or mediation

In some situations, the court refers the case to the arbitration or mediation process. This process may also be necessary if the employment contract includes specific clauses which regulated the alternative dispute resolution.

The mediation process involves attempting to resolve disputes between individuals or companies without taking the case to court. It is a specific form of negotiation chaired by a neutral individual known as the mediator. This neutral individual has no personal interests in the results of the negotiation process and chairs the process on the agreement of the two parties involved in the disagreement. Once the disagreement is resolved with the help of a mediator, the parties can create a written contract with the help of their lawyers.

On the other hand, arbitration is a quasi-court process associated with much higher flexibility. Just like a mediator, the arbitrator is a neutral party, whose primary responsibility is to listen to the parties involved in a disagreement and make a ruling. The parties involved in the conflict choose the arbitrator. Note that the decision made by the arbitrator is final and binding. It is supposed to be enforced the same way a court ruling is implemented. If you need detailed explanations of various aspects of arbitration and mediation, consult with your lawyer.

For more information, please visit:
Stacey R. Ball, Employment Lawyer in Toronto

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