Alberta has experienced years of economic turmoil as a result of low oil prices and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many people are losing their jobs.
When an employer lays off an employee, there are two categories: “with cause” terminations and “without cause” terminations.
An example of a “with cause” termination would be a situation where an employee was found to have violated the terms of an employment agreement or committed a criminal act against an employer (i.e. theft). In such a case, the employer is not required to pay the employee any severance.
In virtually all other cases, an employer is required to give adequate notice as defined by case law and the Employment Standards Code. Typically, the longer an employee has been working at a job, the longer the notice period (or pay in lieu thereof) will be.
In determining the appropriate notice period, some factors include (see Bardal v. Globe and Mail):
The character of the employment;
the length of service of the employee;
the age of the employee; and
the availability of similar employment, having regard to the experience, training and qualifications of the employee.
Like many areas of the law, employment law can be complex and we recommend contacting a lawyer before accepting any settlement.
Below is a list of some common questions we have received from our employment law clients.
The Employment Standards Code and Human Rights Act prohibit employers from laying off, terminating, discriminating against, or even asking employees to resign because of pregnancy, childbirth, or taking maternity or parental leave.
Canadian courts have awarded additional damages for an employer’s attempt to terminate an employee in situations like this. It is strongly advised for you to speak with a lawyer to discuss your specific situation.