What is wrongful dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal is a legal cause of action that you may have against your employer if you have been terminated from your employment without sufficient notice. The name "wrongful" can be misleading - the only thing that makes a dismissal "wrongful" is the lack of sufficient notice from your employer.
Does it matter why I was dismissed?
No. The court will not second-guess your employer's decision to terminate your employment. Instead, wrongful dismissal is purely about the amount of notice that your employer should have provided you at termination. There is no extra notice for 'good employees' The minimum notice you should receive is established by legislation. Any additional notice you may be entitled to is determined by a number of factors and, whether you have a lawful employment contract in place that may limit some of your entitlements. An experienced employment lawyer can make that determination for you.
What are wrongfully dismissed employees entitled to?
If you have been wrongfully dismissed, you are entitled to "reasonable notice" of your termination or pay in lieu of that notice. Pay in lieu of notice is often colloquially referred to as severance. The courts determine how much notice is "reasonable" based primarily on your length of service, age, character of employment and chances of re-employment. It is not an exact science, but most awards are around 1 month of notice per year of service. The idea is that a wrongfully dismissed employee should be given enough notice of termination to secure a comparable replacement job.
Are all employees entitled to reasonable notice?
If you are wrongfully dismissed, there is a legal presumption that you are entitled to reasonable notice. However, there are exceptions. If you signed a contract at the start of your employment, it is possible that that contract limits your entitlement to reasonable notice. What happens after your termination is also important - if you do not make reasonable efforts to look for another job, the court will reduce your award for reasonable notice. In turn, if you secure another job during the reasonable notice period, your entitlement to be paid ends as of the date you are re-employed.
Can the court award extra money aside from wrongful dismissal damages?
Yes, in special cases. Sometimes, other damages can be attached to your claim for wrongful dismissal. The court may award other damages where your employer's conduct was outstandingly bad. Some examples include human rights violations where your employer has discriminated against you on protected grounds (race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, etc.) and workplace harassment or violence. Courts may also award punitive and moral damages to an employee where an employer has acted in extreme bad faith at termination.
How can an employment lawyer help me if I've been wrongfully dismissed?
Damages for wrongful dismissal claims can only be awarded by courts. Employment lawyers are skilled at negotiating settlements with employers and pushing wrongful dismissal cases forward. Often, with effective negotiation, potential lawsuits can be resolved before a legal claim is even initiated.
What can Hyde HR Law do for me?
The employment lawyers at Hyde HR Law are wrongful dismissal experts. We can evaluate your reasonable notice entitlement at law, negotiate a settlement with your former employer on your behalf, or commence a wrongful dismissal action in court in the event those negotiations are ineffective. We have successfully negotiated countless severance packages on behalf of our employee clients. We strive to achieve reasonable settlement agreements for all of our clients, while keeping legal costs to a minimum. Find out how Hyde HR Law can assist you with your wrongful dismissal claim by contacting us today.