Employees need to know their legal rights when it comes to a job dismissal. If you feel you were let go due to a case of ‘wrongful dismissal’, you need a professional lawyer who has your best interests in mind. In fact, the law can protect you if you have been wrongfully dismissed from your job.
Under Canadian law, all employees, excluding managers, who have worked continuously for 1 year for the same employer are entitled to protection from an unjust dismissal. Nevertheless, if you’ve never been let go before, you may not know what to do first.
There are several potential steps you can take when you lose your job due to wrongful dismissal:
Negotiate a fair settlement amount with your employer in person. This could be your first option—to resolve the issue with your employer. If your employer is open to it, schedule a face-to-face meeting and detail all the relevant details regarding your situation. Of course, your employer may not wish to meet. In that case, you can seek the assistance of an employment lawyer or proceed with a lawsuit. This may encourage your former employer to pay you a settlement as requested. Otherwise, if they refuse, you can proceed with a lawsuit.
Request a written statement from your former employer stating the reasons for dismissal. You may expect a reply within 15 days after your request was made.
Visit your local Employment Standards Branch of BC office. An employee that feels they have been unjustly dismissed has 90 days from the date of dismissal to file a complaint. The complaint may be made by yourself or by a representative, such as a lawyer.
File a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. You may pursue an amount from your previous employer in Small Claims Court if the amount you are claiming is under a certain amount. Employers may wish to avoid a costly court case and settle before it goes to court. Indeed, the employer may offer to settle at any stage of litigation so it may be worth your while to move forward at each stage.
Pursue an alternative dispute resolution. Sometimes the court refers a case to the arbitration or mediation process. This may be necessary if an employment contract contains clauses, for example. Mediation is an excellent alternative to resolving disputes between individuals to avoid an expensive and possible time-consuming court case. A neutral mediator is assigned the case and chairs the process on the agreement of both parties. Arbitration is a similar process with more flexibility.
File a claim with the BC Human Rights Tribune. If you feel you were let go due to your race, gender, or other personal circumstances, you may start a claim citing human rights violations.
File a claim with Work Safe BC. If you feel your employer fired you for raising safety concerns or refusing to perform unsafe work, this is another option.
Employment law is here to protect your rights. You may be entitled to severance pay or additional wages, even if your employer gave you notice.
Our office retains lawyers who practice employment law. If you believe you were wrongfully dismissed from your job, give us a call at (250) 248-8220 to find out more from our experienced law professionals about how you may proceed.