When someone sues for wrongful dismissal the “wrongful” part of it is usually about the working notice or pay in lieu of notice provided. Usually, it is not about whether the employee did something awful justifying a termination without notice.
Litigious means “ fond of engaging in law suits”. The truth is, most lawyers are more fond of settling law suits than going to court. A clear and firm result rather than the vagaries of the court room are almost always best for everyone. Sometimes clients don’t agree.
See if you can identify the employment law violations which arise in the following story of Burt, the Elf
Let’s imagine that you have been working as a sales representative for your employer for 13 years. About eight months ago you got a new boss. Last week you were pulled into a meeting at the end of which your boss gave you a letter which said: Let’s imagine that you have been working as a sales representative for your employer for 13 years. About eight months ago you got a new boss. Last week you were pulled into a meeting at the end of which your boss gave you a letter which said:
For five years, Joe worked as a bus driver for a company that serviced local schools. He had been having some disagreements with his boss about whether or not he was owed a raise and the boss was upset with him for talking directly to a school administrator an issue over the time his bus left at the end of the day.
A couple of years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada made a decision that an employee who had been terminated and then, some months later, offered his job back, should have returned to work. As a result he was not entitled to damages after the date he was offered an opportunity to return. It was a very special case in that he was the sole employee of a union office in a remote town.
Employers need to understand that when an employee sues for wrongful dismissal, they are really just suing to say that given their years of service and their position, as well as their age, they should have received more pay in lieu of notice. Some employers, however, take this personally. They should not. It’s just business. Taking things personally usually leads employers to make rash decisions and waste money on lawyers. (Not that I think it is a waste.) Thin skinned employers usually just make a bad situation worse. Sometimes way worse.
A woman we will call Anna worked part time in a meat department at a grocery store for ten years. She was a good employee and had no complaints against her.
QUESTION: I started a job just under 3months ago. The hiring letter said there would be a 3-month probationary period and that I could be terminated at any time before 3 months was up without any pay in lieu of notice. Just before the 3 months ended, they terminated me any reason whatsoever. They had never said told me I was doing anything wrong. They offered me two weeks pay if I would sign a release. Do I have to sign the release or do they owe me that money anyways? Don’t I have a legal right to know the reason for my termination? Don’t they have to act reasonably in terminating me?
When we talk about seniority in wrongful dismissal cases most people think about the last continuous period of employment. People are entitled to reasonable notice based on, in part, how many years they work for the company. Things get a little complicated, however, when employees work for an employer, quit for a while, then go back.