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Alberta termination and severance laws

The Alberta Human Rights Act, Section 7(1)(a), covers termination and severance of employees by employers. According to the law, employers are prohibited from terminating or refusing to employ individuals due to a "protected ground" unless the employer has a justifiable or reasonable basis for doing so, and that the refusal is due to an actual occupational requirement of the position.

"Protected ground" in this context refers to the protection of individuals with disabilities, advanced age, health concerns and other protected circumstances. In any case where an Alberta resident is terminated on the basis of a protected ground, employers must ensure that the firing was justifiable and/or reasonable given the circumstances. For example, if an individual is terminated due to his or her disability, the employer must make all reasonable attempts to try and accommodate the individual in his or her job position.

As for accommodation, this can take many forms as along as it does not apply undue hardship onto the employer. The accommodation process should involve identifying the special needs of the disabled employee and whether they can be met through job or workplace modifications or through additional training.

Alberta residents who feel that they were wrongfully terminated on the basis of a protected ground, such as their age, race, disability, religious affiliation -- for some other protected reason -- may want to discuss the facts of their situations with a qualified employment lawyer. Such a lawyer will be able to determine whether sufficient grounds exist for pursuing compensation for wrongful termination in court.

Source: Alberta Human Rights Commission, "Termination and severance," accessed Oct. 30, 2015

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