Being fired from the job is bad enough to weigh down on an individual’s life. But, being laid off for wrongful dismissal is another thing. Especially if you feel there is no just cause. Unfortunately, employers have a legal right to terminate their employees, but not all of them are fair once it comes to the act itself. To find out whether or not you have a case, you will need to inform yourself of the labour legislation or consult an employment lawyer in Alberta.
In general, residents and employees who have a minimum of 12 months working with an employer in Alberta can file an unfair dismissal claim with Employment Standards. The only thing that is different from a civil lawsuit is the amount of compensation, which is limited to C$10,000. There is no fixed formula because each case is unique, and some persons may be entitled to more due to pension payments and other advantages.
If you file a civil lawsuit, the costs will increase, and you will need help from an employment lawyer. That is why consulting one before signing or doing anything is most reasonable. Employment lawyers have vast experience in the matter and can help you make sense of the entire process. In addition, a good employment lawyer will give you honest advice based on your unique issue.
Knowing the Facts Before Filing a Claim for Wrongful Dismissal
Dismissal is the employer’s last resort and severe step in the disciplinary process. Before filing a complaint, you must understand what influences the employer’s decision. Be honest with yourself while determining whether or not you experienced unjust dismissal despite the feelings.
People are different and perceive things in life in various manners. However, an employer starting a disciplinary action is correcting behaviour the company deems unacceptable in the workplace. The most common reasons are:
- incompetence or lack of skill to perform duties,
- negligence as in ignoring their duties or being careless in achieving them,
- misconduct towards employees or clients.
That means if your employer explained the reasons for your termination, that is the point they will try to prove in the hearing or court. However, each of these carries additional information proof of it. For example, if the issue was misbehaviour, the employer has to prove a frequent pattern in your behaviour.
Additionally, the workplace shouldn’t share that type of behaviour among other employees. Adjudicators in Alberta will also examine whether or not the employer investigated the event before starting the disciplinary process. That means this could be a foundation of wrongful dismissal.
It is similar to incompetence. Employer representatives will have to prove that your work was such in the past. Otherwise, the employer faces a consequence and high fine for wrongful dismissal and making false implications about the employee.
Adjudicators also use aggravating and mitigating elements to assess the case. In other words, it serves to evaluate the gravity of the disciplinary action and provide information on whether or not the employer justified the dismissal under the circumstances.
Negotiation is far Better Tactic than Courtroom Dispute.
The knowledge can help you understand that the Alberta law abides by the Employment Standards Code, which protects employees and obliges employers to meet minimum criteria. That means you should attempt to resolve the matters with your employer through voluntary resolution.
You can request a written statement from the employer explaining the reasons for your dismissal. The employer must reply within the next 15 days to such a request. If you still think it was wrongful termination, you can file a complaint within 90 days from the last day of employment. The costs are lesser than lawsuits, and you have the right to represent yourself.
You or your representative, such as a lawyer, may file the complaint. The document should include your identification as an employee, dismissal date, and that your dismissal is wrongful termination. At first, authorities will appoint both you and the employer to the inspector who serves as a mediator to help the parties reach a mutual agreement. If the inspector cannot resolve the case, you may seek an appointment with an adjudicator.
Less Formal than Courtroom But Resolving the Wrongful Dismissal
If you fail to reach a mutual agreement with the employer, the next step is to ask for an adjudicator. First, however, the Minister of Labour decides whether or not to assign one to your case. If everything is in order, the appointed adjudicator will set the hearing date for both parties to present the evidence.
In other words, your employer has to provide sufficient evidence and prove that your dismissal was justifiable. That means that the adjudicator is there to receive enough information on your case, and both parties are free to call on witnesses. Finally, after the hearing, the judicator must decide whether or not it was wrongful dismissal and provide a remedy.
Adjudicator’s decision is final binding on both parties, and you cannot appeal to the court. However, should the adjudicator find your dismissal unjust, the employer may be obligated to reinstate the employee, pay compensation for lost wages or do anything else to remedy the wrongful termination.
What Can You Expect from Wrongful Dismissal Settlement in Alberta?
Filing a Labour Code complaint does not preclude you from filing a civil case for wrongful dismissal in Alberta. However, there are additional expenses that can be high. However, there are cases when an employer is not willing to negotiate. That is when employment lawyers advise civil lawsuits. Based on the verdict, there are three kinds of damages that the court rules in favour of employees:
Notice period settlement: in case the employer did not provide a reasonable notice period.
Additional compensation is when harsh circumstances of wrongful dismissal cause pleading emotional anguish.
Punitive damages: are developed when the employer shows malicious or severe reasons for unfair termination to stop them from repeating in the future.
There are different causes of wrongful dismissal, and each one has the element that made it unjust in the first place. Employees that are fired in such a manner are naturally feeling angry. However, despite the trauma that they are experiencing, it is advisable to seek legal counsel and get acquainted with the options based on specific cases. If you doubt the release or severance offer, do not sign any paperwork before receiving advice from an employment lawyer.
If you need professional guidance in the process and your options before and during litigation, contact Chapman Riebeek employment lawyer Tyler Nightingale.