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Wrongful Dismissal: What Does it Really Mean?

· Employment Law

Why is wrongful dismissal called ‘Wrongful ‘ when the employee has does nothing wrong.

In law an employer does nothing wrong when an employee is dismissed. There is no such thing as a guaranteed job. But an employee is entitled to appropriate notice when fired unless dismissed for cause.

So, why is it called “wrongful” dismissal? That’s because the employer provided no notice or insufficient notice. That is what is wrongful. So what is appropriate or reasonable notice? Good question! The purpose of notice is to tide an ex-employee through until he or she is likely to find a comparable job. The cases dealing with this look at several factors to determine the notice as much as:

  • Age of the ex-employee – older job seekers are likely to have a harder time finding a job
  • The type of position which was held – some positions are harder to fill
  • Salary that was being earned – the higher the salary the harder to replace
  • The employee’s level – companies are pyramids. The higher the level fewer positions exist.
  •  Length of service – generally the longer the service the longer the notice

The rule of thumb for notice – one month per year of service.

There is an upper limit – generally 24 months is the cap.

The employer can lower this obligation – if the contract limits the amount of notice required. This can be no less than the notice required by the applicable employment standards legislation.


The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of employment law familiar to employment lawyer, Shelley Brian Brown. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website or blog as such.
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