Duncan, Linton LLP is the oldest independent law firm in Waterloo Region, and one of the oldest in Ontario. We have significant experience guiding employees and employers through the termination process. We work closely with each of our clients to ensure all obligations are met, risks are minimized, and the rights of the parties are protected.
Our Employment Termination Services
We have significant experience and routinely assist clients with:
- Termination: the end of a working relationship, also commonly known as getting fired, being dismissed, or getting laid off.
- Constructive dismissal: a constructive dismissal generally occurs where an employer makes a change to a fundamental term or condition of an employee’s terms of employment (e.g. decrease in salary or decrease in work hours) without that employee’s consent. Constructive dismissal also includes situations where an employer harasses, bullies, or abuses an employee, and the employee resigns in response.
- Wrongful dismissal: an employee is wrongfully dismissed where their employer terminates them without notice of termination or payment in lieu of that notice (i.e. termination pay).
Generally, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason. While employers enjoy a substantial amount of leeway in making decisions about an employee’s continued employment, there are a number of obligations that must be met when firing someone. There are also significant liabilities attached.
In most instances, where an employer terminates the employment of someone who has been continuously employed for more than three months, the employer is required to provide them with either advance notice of the termination, payment in lieu of that notice, or (in some circumstances) both. This is known as reasonable notice, or severance, but most commonly referred to as a “severance package”. Where no notice, or insufficient notice is granted, that employee may have grounds to make a wrongful dismissal claim. Such claims can be expensive to litigate, and can have significant financial consequences for the employer.
Employers cannot make significant changes to the fundamental terms or conditions of an employee’s employment without providing the employee with sufficient notice of that change and/or without the employee’s consent. Significant changes can include a reduction in salary, a decrease in working hours, a change in work location, or a change to the employee’s responsibilities.
Where an employer makes any such substantial change to the terms and conditions of an employee’s employment without the employee’s consent, the employee has the option of treating their employment as having been terminated, as the fundamental terms of employment will have been repudiated.
Similarly, if an employee is subject to bullying, harassment, and/or abuse by the employer, and feels that they have no choice but to leave, the employment may be considered to have been terminated.
If the employee leaves their job in such cases, their departure will be considered a constructive dismissal, rather than a resignation. That employee will then be entitled to a “severance package”, much as they would in a standard termination. However, where that employee cannot establish that they were constructively dismissed, they will instead be considered to have resigned, and will not be entitled to any severance package. Given those drastic consequences, an employee that believes they may have been constructively dismissed should seek experienced legal advice as soon as possible.
Waterloo Region Employment Lawyers Assisting Workplace Parties with Terminations
The knowledgeable employment lawyers at Duncan, Linton LLP have over 160 years of experience assisting employees and employers with terminations, wrongful dismissals and constructive dismissals. Call us at (519) 886-3340 or contact us online to protect your workplace rights.