Wrongful Dismissal - Getting Help

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Wrongful Dismissal - Getting Help

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC


Wrongful Dismissal - Getting Help

You have just been dismissed; you are in shock and it is possibly the last thing you expected. How do you deal with this situation?

You need to speak to an experienced lawyer to know what your rights are.

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.

Your 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 situation.

Your 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.

Here are some resources where you can begin to get your bearings and find the right help:

Canadian Law Site.com:


Canadian Labour Law, Labour Lawyers and Wrongful Dismissal Lawyers

An 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

A good general explanation of Wrongful Dismissal and Constructive Dismissal

Straight Goods site:


Canada’s Consumer and News Watchdog

Martindale.ca site:


A search engine to locate lawyers by name, region and specialty

Publications at Grosman.com:


Toronto-based law firm with excellent list of books

If 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 complicated.

If 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.

As 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.



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