The law of “wrongful dismissal” in British Columbia can be difficult for a layperson to navigate. Whether you are a small business dealing with a personnel issue, or a worker who has been let go, it is best to seek professional advice before acting.
The contract of employment may by written or verbal, and some terms will likely be imposed by provincial laws including the Employment Standards Act. In some cases an employer will seek to terminate an employee for cause – that is, for a reason relating to the employee’s misconduct – without any compensation. Even where cause is not alleged, there can often be an issue over what notice, or more commonly compensation in lieu of notice, the employee is entitled to receive. Parties should be aware that the notice periods set out in the Employment Standards Act are minimums, and senior or long-term employees will be entitled to substantially more. The law may also impose a duty on a terminated employee to mitigate his/her loss by seeking other employment. Each of this issues requires a close examination of the employment contract and the facts relating to cause and notice.
Human Rights Tribunal
In addition to employment law, certain actions taken in the employment context may constitute a violation of the Human Rights Code. This can result in a claim being brought in the Human Rights Tribunal. Human Rights violations require an in depth look at the specific facts of the situation, together with the legislation and decided case law to determine the merits and appropriate next steps.
Maple Ridge Employment Lawyers
Our litigators, Tim Watkins and Adele Letwin, each have experience with such cases. They have acted for terminated employees, successfully conducting trials over alleged dismissals for cause and over the amount of compensation payable. As well, they have acted for employers seeking to terminate, both by giving advice in advance on the severance package to be offered and after the fact in litigation. They have also successfully assisted and represented clients with Human Rights Tribunal complaints with respect to Human Rights Code violations.