Many people will experience a job loss at some point in their careers. However, most are unfamiliar with the payments that are available to them and the steps they should take after being dismissed.
You should receive severance pay from your employer.
Almost all employees in Ontario, who are dismissed from their jobs, are legally entitled to some form of termination and/or severance pay. The Employment Standards Act of Ontario requires about 1-2 weeks of termination and/or severance pay per year of service. Employers are required to make this payment.
You may also be entitled to common law severance.
In Ontario, most employees are entitled to both ESA pay and common law severance, as long as they did not sign an agreement limiting what they are entitled to upon termination.
You may have given up your right to common law severance, without even realizing it, when you signed your employment contract. Many people do not carefully read these long legal agreements and are surprised to discover that they signed away their rights. However, given that employment law constantly changes, even skilled lawyers can have difficulty drafting termination provisions that are enforceable. If your agreement is deemed to be unenforceable, you may be entitled to common law severance.
Employees without a contract are usually entitled to ESA pay and common law severance.
ESA pay is easy to calculate. It cannot be reduced or given up. And since failing to pay it can be quite costly for employers, most companies typically pay it right away.
Common law severance payments are based on a number of factors, including an employee's position, age, length of service, and the amount of time it takes for a dismissed employee to find a new job. Employers often withhold common law severance payments until an employee sues for wrongful dismissal damages. That said, an experienced employment lawyer can negotiate a severance package on your behalf, in order to avoid costly litigation.
Common law severance payments can amount to 1-2 months' pay per year of service. However, they are limited to the amount of time you spend unemployed. Even if you are entitled to 24 months of severance payments, you might only get your ESA pay if you find a new job right away.
You must look for a new job.
Your one legal responsibility when suing for wrongful dismissal is to make reasonable efforts to find a new job. This is referred to as 'mitigation' and involves submitting job applications, attending job interviews and accepting a reasonable offer of employment.
If you fail to do this, you can seriously reduce your wrongful dismissal award.
It is unlikely that you will have to go to trial.
Although it is always possible that you will have to go to trial, neither you nor your former employer will want to spend money on additional legal fees. Most straightforward wrongful dismissal cases will settle long before a trial is scheduled.
Contact Hyde HR law today for expert legal advice on your wrongful dismissal case.