Wrongful Dismissal - Getting Help
have just been dismissed; you are in shock and it is
possibly the last thing you expected. How do you deal
with this situation?
need to speak to an experienced lawyer to know what your
Wrongful dismissal is also defined as dismissal without
just cause. Before you consent to sign any paper with
your employer, you owe it to yourself to evaluate your
options through obtaining qualified legal advice.
employer cannot dismiss you on a whim. The employer has
a duty to treat employees fairly and reasonably. The
terms ‘fairly’ and ‘reasonably’ are often interpreted
differently by opposing sides in a dispute of this type.
Your lawyer can guide you and provide counsel about what
action may or may not be appropriate given your specific
lawyer will guide you in understanding what constitutes
wrongful dismissal. He/she will explain how a unilateral
change of responsibilities or reduction in salary may be
viewed as ‘constructive dismissal’. You are likely
experiencing different emotions at this time, so it is
vital that you obtain information from knowledgeable
sources. Your lawyer will provide an unemotional
assessment of your rights when you may be finding it
difficult to deal with the emotional stress.
are some resources where you can begin to get your
bearings and find the right help:
Canadian Labour Law and Labour Relations Links
Canadian Labour Law, Labour Lawyers and Wrongful
excellent site with in-depth coverage of all related
topics together with extensive links
The Canadian Human Rights Code:
Legislation protecting against discrimination in Canada
Canada One Magazine site: http://www.canadaone.com/ezine/feb02/employment_law.html
good general explanation of Wrongful Dismissal and
Straight Goods site:
Canada’s Consumer and News Watchdog
Publications at Grosman.com:
Toronto-based law firm with excellent list of books
you are in contact with a recruiter to seek advice of
this kind, be aware that very few recruiters are also
qualified lawyers and able to provide accurate advice.
The best you can expect is an opinion based on other
situations that the recruiter may be aware. In no way
should this be construed as legal advice or serve as a
basis to make your decisions on. Always seek a
specialist in the field as the laws are quite
you decide on legal action, you should be prepared to
invest a fair amount of money and time in the process as
these affairs can drag on for lengthy periods. If your
employer has deeper pockets to absorb legal fees, it is
important that you consider the consequences of engaging
in a protracted legal battle. The final legal costs are
often more than the settlement figure. Your lawyer
should be listened to as he/she is the expert in these
matters. Avoid the temptation of trying to ‘punish’ your
employer for the upset that you may have experienced.
Make sure that you have a good chance of winning your
case if you want to engage in a lawsuit.
you are checking out your options, take the time to take
stock of yourself and the circumstances you face. There
is always something valuable you can learn from
unpleasant events. If you focus on how you can
ultimately benefit in terms of taking a new direction in
your career, you will more clearly see what the best
next steps are for you and for your family. Remember
your past successes and believe in your ability to
weather the storm and come through it stronger as that
confidence will get you through the rough spots.
You have the right to be upset especially if there
appears to be no just cause why you were let go.
However, try and step back from the situation, review
your options and make your decision in consultation with
a legal specialist. Avoid acting on emotional impulse
and you may save yourself from making a costly error.
Protecting Your Interests - Obtain Your References
Remember that protecting your interests also involves
obtaining a reference letter which is more than a bland
confirmation of dates of employment from your employer.
If you allow emotion and hurt feelings to dictate your
actions and reactions, you will do yourself a
disservice. Whether or not you choose to pursue legal
options against an employer, having a quality letter of
reference from your immediate superior is very much in
your interests for future employment. Stand your ground
and request your letter of reference before you sign any
agreement, if possible.
We often see people who are caught in situations that
are not of their making; they are confused, upset and
offended by the way they are being treated. They see
themselves as victims of circumstance. It is normal to
experience these feelings.
It is important however to seek to maintain some type of
communication channel; be neutral but firm and ask that
when a potential new employer calls to check a standard
performance reference that you receive the positive
support that you deserve. Their desire to avoid
unpleasant proceedings and the time and costs involved
can work to your advantage.
If the company has a policy against managers providing
verbal references, consult with the Human Resources
department to see what your options are. Good employment
references are essential to have as they are almost
universally expected by employers seeking to hire people
with the skills, experience and track record that they
want. Do not burn your bridges here, even if it means
asking people whom you have little respect for to
provide this support: you need to have good references
to move forward - this is in your highest interest.