Red Deer’s Sword of the Law – Reasons for Just Cause Termination of Employment

It is never a pleasant experience for an employee to be fired, even with good cause. However, many Red Deer employers make difficult circumstances harder because they bypass the legal side of dismissal. However, nothing is more unpleasant than regret, whether you are an employee seeking justice or a business that could have resolved matters more peacefully. The primary key to this legal issue is understanding the difference between termination with and without cause and accompanying requirements. If you have any doubts about just cause termination, it is best to seek advice from the employment lawyer specializing in this field.

Red Deer’s Sword of the Law – Reasons for Just Cause Termination of Employment

What are Your Termination-Related Rights and Obligations?

Employment Law in Alberta and Red Deer for Employees and Employers

Alberta, and therefore Red Deer, abide by the Employment Standards Code, which defines minimum standards in different areas, including termination of employment for most non-unionized employees in the province. Additionally, because independent contractors are deemed self-employed and have no required deductions from their pay, it does not apply to them.

Other than these, each person and legal entity is different and has specific issues or concerns. The law, however, remains the same for both. Each party has to give each other notice of their plan of dismissal or resignation in an adequate time frame.

Employee Decides to Resign

Employees often decide it is time to move on and offer their resignation letter to the employer. That has nothing to do with just cause dismissal. However, the same rule of time length applies to them if not stated otherwise in their employment agreement. Additionally, exceptional circumstances can change this rule, such as employees’ illness caused by working in that specific environment. Therefore it is best to seek counsel from an employment lawyer before sending the document.

In general, employees who have some time of service within a company are legally obliged to provide resignation notice accordingly. That means that a person working more than three months and less than two years for an employer has to notify one week in advance.

The termination notice period for Employees according to Employment Standards Code
The termination notice period for Employees according to Employment Standards Code

The notice period does not apply on certain rare occasions, such as when workers’ rights have been violated in some way. However, after the employee sends a resignation, the employer’s legal obligation is to provide wages for the remainder of the notice period. In addition, they are prohibited from making employees use the remaining vacation or overtime unless it is in writing and the employee consents. 


Employee’s termination notice is only valid if sent in writing and addressed to the employer. That means that notice should state the suitable period or longer; otherwise, it is void. 

Employer Decides to Terminate Employee

To terminate employment based on just cause dismissal, an employer must provide at least 30 days written notice to the employee. The period is calculated based on the years of employment in the company. For example, if the employee has been working with a company for more than 90 days to two years, they are entitled to one week’s notice of termination. 

The termination notice period for Employers according to Employment Standards Code
The termination notice period for Employers according to Employment Standards Code

The termination period begins from the day the employee received the notice and ends with the termination date. However, termination notice does not apply to just cause dismissal.

Additionally, specific circumstances prohibit employers from terminating the employee, in which case employers should consult an employment lawyer who has experience in such matters. Finally, in typical situations, employers must pay employees earnings 31 consecutive days after the last day of employment.


The notice should contain the employee’s name and address and the correct date. In the following paragraphs, the employer should state 

  • the reason for just cause dismissal
  • that warning was about issues in employee performance, work or behaviour
  • that the employee did not correct the issues 
  • Request to return company property such as computer
  • That employee will receive a payment within ten consecutive days after the payment period or 31 days following the last day of employment.

What is Just Cause Termination According to Red Deer Law?

Just cause dismissal is when the employer has sufficient evidence that the employee breached specific parts of the contract. That includes just cause termination reasons or serious misbehaviour on employees part such as:

  • workplace theft or fraud
  • incompetence or neglect in performing given duties daily
  • any harassment or abuse directed towards employees, clients, or customers
  • engaging in activities and behaviour that causes economic harm to the company

Just cause termination is easily mistaken with an occasional delay of the worker and periodic poor performance. That includes personal accusations based on ethnic, religious, and other elements. 

In addition, as mentioned at the beginning, the just cause dismissal is based on evidence. Unfortunately, in Alberta province, including Red Deer, it is challenging to prove just cause termination because many companies abuse the law. 

Many businesses attempt to dismiss a long-term employee to relieve themselves of the obligation to pay severance and give notice. As a result, the employee is left in an unenviable situation, unable to use Employment Benefits. Because of the gravity of the employee situation, the court is searching for evidence.

Employers’ Obligations to Demonstrate Just Cause Termination in Red Deer

Just cause termination is a profound act, and it is not easy to prove. However, the workplace is significantly disturbed by the circumstances and consequences for both employers and employees in such situations. 

Therefore if the allegations against the employee are true, the employer will have to provide proof of their claims in court. That means ensuring that everything is documented and that additional circumstances surrounding the case are consistent with the charges. 

Just cause termination of employment Chapman Riebeek Employment Lawyers in Red Deer
Just cause termination of employment Chapman Riebeek Employment Lawyers in Red Deer

Each case is unique, but they have different requirements depending on the gravity of the accusation. For example, willful misconduct, violence, and abuse toward colleagues, clients or customers are sufficient to show just cause termination evidence. In addition, the employer has to prove that the company culture does not nurture such behaviour. 

In other circumstances, such as willful disregard for duty, the employer must provide written evidence that management made adequate steps to rectify the situation.

  • Written letter to employee in which attention is diverted to expectations of the employer
  • Proof of providing the employee with reasonable time and resources to correct the behaviour
  • Written warning to the employee about the gravity of consequences if the unacceptable behaviour continues

Additionally, it means the employee did not satisfy the expectations after all. Otherwise, the lawsuit may have severe consequences for business, or the court may establish wrongful dismissal.

What is Considered Termination Without Cause?

Unfortunately, employers in Alberta have a legal right to dismiss employees for no reason at all. That means they are entitled to terminate the employment contract without cause, only if it is not based on discriminatory elements. In addition, they must meet specific conditions such as providing reasonable notice.

When is the Time to Seek Professional Advice from an Employment Lawyer in Red Deer?

Each case is unique, as is an individual or business setting just cause dismissal in motion. Red Deer might be a small city, but everyday life and work occur in the same way everywhere. 

Laws exist to be abide by. However, it is not easy to interpret them and know every move in advance. Not all employers are ruthless towards employees, just as not all employees are reckless.

In the end, there are always two conflicting sides in the law, and one of them always draws the wrong end. Lady Justice does not choose sides based on preferences or status. Therefore, before embarking on legal procedures, both parties should consider whether they are sure that the result will be favourable for them and whether the justice has been met.

Losing a job is not a good experience in life. But, you can rest assured knowing you have fair treatment if you get your case advised by a leading Red Deer employment lawyer before signing paperwork. 

Employers can stay confident that Red Deer employment lawyers such as Chapman Riebeek helped you do the right thing by just cause employment law to ensure the best possible outcome under the circumstances.