Employment Law | Guardian Law Employment Law | Guardian Law

Employment Law

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.

If you are terminated “without cause”, your employer will likely offer you a “package” including some termination pay. We recommend you have a lawyer review this for you before accepting.
In such a case, we advise you to politely tell your employer that you would like to have their offer reviewed by a lawyer with experience in this area of the law. Our highly skilled team of professionals would be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

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.

The Alberta Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, religious beliefs, color, gender, gender identity, physical disability, mental disability, and age (with some qualifications). If you believe that you have been the victim of such discrimination, contact one of our lawyers to discuss your options.
In many cases, we will take employment matters on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only get paid as a percentage of your recovery when you get paid. In this area of the law, our contingency rate only applies to any additional settlement or judgment that we are able to obtain for you.
“Constructive dismissal” is when an employee is forced to resign due to the employer creating an intolerable work environment. Since the employee is being forced into resigning, it is seen as a termination by the employer and the employee is entitled to a severance package. Contact one of our employment lawyers to discuss your option.
The Limitations Act typically provides a two-year limitation to sue from when you knew or ought to have known about a claim. Contact one of our lawyers to discuss your rights well in advance of this deadline.

Contact Us

Regardless of your employment situation, the law in this area can be exceedingly complex. Contact one of our experienced lawyers prior to agreeing to any settlement.

info@guardian.law or 403-457-7778

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