A question we get asked by almost every client is “do I have a good wrongful dismissal case?” But it’s one we try not to answer with a “Yes” or a “no”. If we have done our job well, then by the end of a consultation our clients can answer that themselves.
To help clients arrive at that answer, we discuss with them what they should do, what they should think about, and when it comes to litigation, whether the juice is worth the squeeze.
Here is how that conversation often proceeds:
Is it worth it to go for more?
In most wrongful dismissals, it is usually worthwhile to have us (at least) send a demand letter to your employer. Doing so will be relatively inexpensive and often yields an increase to the first offer.
If my lawyer sends a demand letter, will my employer withdraw their offer?
Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. Your employer has already displayed an interest in resolving the matter. That typically means that, unless some new important new information comes to light (for instance, that you started a new job), the first offer almost always remains on the table.
But my termination letter includes a deadline!
Most termination letters contain an offer which expires after 1-2 weeks. In most cases, after lawyers get involved, this so-called expiry date will pass without anyone mentioning it.
Okay, then how long will this wrongful dismissal case take?
It depends. Will it settle after letter and a phone call? Will it settle after a claim is issued? At mediation? At pre-trial? Will we push this to trial?
Most cases take a few months, but some take as little as 2 weeks, or as long as 3 years. The timeline will depend on both parties’ willingness to compromise with the other. That willingness tends to change over time during litigation.
Will I end up with more than the first offer?
Say your wrongful dismissal case is worth 16 months, but your employer has offered 10. In that case, yes, usually you will end up with more, but subject to one very important caveat: only if you remain unemployed for that long. For instance, if, you secure a new job at the same pay after 8 months, then your wrongful dismissal damages will be limited to 8 months’ pay.
That’s okay, I just won’t look for a job.
Unfortunately, that won’t work either. Wrongfully dismissed employees have a duty to make reasonable efforts to search for alternate employment. If those efforts are shown to be deficient or non-existent, it could seriously harm your case.
All I want is a fair outcome.
This is the right mindset. Fairness could include a broad range of outcomes. Whether a particular offer or outcome is fair will depend on your circumstances. It is a question you should feel comfortable answering yourself after exploring all the issues with your lawyer.
For help evaluating your wrongful dismissal claim, contact Hyde HR Law today for a consultation.
[crossposted from Goldhawk]