Author: Daniel A. Lublin
Here are seven questions to ask yourself if you’ve recently been dismissed:
Were you non-unionized? Unionized employees have specific grievance procedures available under their collective agreement and therefore, cannot have their wrongful dismissal cases heard in the courts.
Did you have a written termination provision in your contract of employment? A contract can limit your entitlement to any pay or notice of your termination where it is clearly drafted, validly signed and compliant with the applicable legislation.
Were you a probationary employee? If you are fired during the probationary term of your employment, it is unlikely that you can sustain a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
Were you fired for just cause? When an employer successfully proves just cause, you are not entitled to any damages whatsoever. Just cause, however, has become increasingly harder for employers to both prove and sustain. In many cases employees can challenge their employer’s allegations of cause and if successful, obtain significant damages.
Were you a short service employee? Generally, if you were employed for a short period of time, your damages may only amount to the minimum standards in Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.
Did your termination occur longer than two years ago? In Ontario, there is a limitation period that requires wrongful dismissal lawsuits to be commenced within 2 years of the alleged act.
Did you sign a release? If you have signed a valid release, you may have limited your chances of recovering any amounts that you could have otherwise been entitled to.
In most other situations, if you’ve been terminated you may be able to sue for wrongful dismissal. I recommend that you meet with an employment law specialist who can explain to you the procedures, the pitfalls and of course, the benefits.