Ridout Barron


Wrongful termination claims in Alberta

When an Alberta resident is fired from his or her job, it can be difficult to handle. Not only does the terminated employee have financial concerns, but he or she may also suffer a career setback and have to deal with the psychological repercussions of being fired. However, by educating themselves on the employment rights offered to terminated employees, Alberta residents will be better able to navigate life after getting fired.

First, employees should know that they are generally entitled to a month of severance pay for every year that they worked for the company -- that is, if the employee was not fired for "just cause" and no previously-agreed-to employment contracts limited the amount of severance pay the employee was entitled to.

Second, employees are usually owed a "notice period" (a warning) that they will be fired. Generally, employees should receive about a month of notice for every year they were employed by the company. The notice period is supposed to give employees enough time to find a new position somewhere else.

Third, a lot of provisions that employees are entitled to go out the window if the employer had "just cause." However, it is very difficult for employers to prove just cause. As such, most terminations are categorized as "wrongful dismissals" or termination without just cause. As such, employees are usually entitled to a certain amount of damages -- like severance pay in lieu of advanced notice, for example.

Since a lot of Alberta employees do not have a clear view of what their legal rights are following a termination, they can sometimes get the short end of the stick after losing their jobs. For this reason, employees are always encouraged to discuss their situations with a qualified employment lawyer.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "Recently fired? Five things you need to know," Gord McGuire, April 28, 2016

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Ridout Barron
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