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What is Considered Wrongful Dismissal in Alberta?

Being terminated from a job is not a desirable situation for employees. In some cases, employees could feel they were terminated for the wrong reason. And unfortunately, it happens more often than people would think.

If you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your employer, contact Guardian Law Group LLP today. Our legal team can go through your case and help you determine if you should pursue a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

What is a Wrongful Dismissal?

Wrongful dismissal is when an employee is let go from their job but the termination violated rules including:

  • The employee not receiving notice or pay with no notice;
  • The employer said they have grounds to terminate an employee and then refuses to give severance pay;
  • An employee is terminated and not given their final paycheck, vacation pay, or other pay due per their contract; and,
  • An employee’s contract is changed without them agreeing to it.

Additionally, businesses in Alberta are supposed to follow the Employment Standards Code. An employer against this code could result in an employee filing for wrongful dismissal.

How Much Notice is Needed to Be Given Before Termination?

According to the Employment Standards Code, an employer is supposed to give an employee a written notice of termination. The length of notice depends on how long the employee has been with the company. The maximum length an employer can give notice to an employee is eight weeks, and that is for employees who have been working for a company for more than 10 years. If an employee has been working for a company between six and eight years, they must receive at least five weeks of notice. If an employee has been working for a company between four to six years, they must receive at least four weeks of notice. When working at a company from two to four years, employees must receive a two-week notice, and working at a company from 90 days to two years requires a one-week notice.

There are circumstances, according to the Employment Standards Code, where a termination notice is not necessary. That includes employees who:

  • Have been working for a company for less than three months;
  • Have signed a specific contract that fully defines the length of the employment (example: an employee working on a specific project with a six-month contract would not need a termination notice when the project ends in six months);
  • Seasonal employment; and,
  • Are working in the construction industry.

Pay In Lieu of Notice

Rather than having the employee continue working during the time between the termination notice being given and the termination, an employer can choose to pay the employee what the employee would have earned during that time period and terminate the employee immediately. This can also be split up if the employer decides to do so — for example, if the employer gives a five-week notice, and only wants the employee working at the company for two more weeks, the employer must pay the employee the wages that would have been earned during the remaining three weeks.

How to Prove Wrongful Dismissal

An employee could feel they’ve been wrongfully dismissed if their employer has failed to provide sufficient notice or pay in lieu of notice. Additionally, an employee can look at other factors that an employer would not have said that involve human rights violations, but could have played a factor in their decision for dismissal including:

  • Age;
  • Race;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Sexual orientation; and,
  • Religion.

If an employee feels any of the above-mentioned reasons were a factor in their termination, it could be considered wrongful dismissal.

Considering a wrongful dismissal lawsuit is not something someone should do alone. With more than 200 years of combined experience, our Calgary employment law attorneys at Guardian Law Group LLP are ready to help you.

Contact our team today at (403) 457-7778.