Compensation in Ontario Employment Law and Wrongful Dismissal Claims

Compensation and other remedies are available in Ontario to wrongfully dismissal and unjustly terminated employees.

Under Ontario employment law a wrongfully dismissed employee may claim pay in lieu of reasonable notice,  if he or she has been terminated from an employment position without just cause or reasonable notice.  Claims for these Ontario common law entitlements are typically made in wrongful dismissal proceedings.

As well, The Ontario Employment Standards Act is the key Ontario employment statute that sets out the minimum termination pay and severance pay an employer is required to provide, if an employee is dismissed without cause and in the absence of willful misconduct.

Damages and other compensation for wage losses may also be awarded under the Ontario Human Rights Code, for loss or injury caused due to discrimination by the employer or another person at the workplace in contravention of the Code. Under the Code, reinstatement of employment may also be ordered.

Finally, those employed in industries governed by federal legislation, including banking and interprovincial transport, may also have additional entitlements and remedies under the Canada Labour Code, which provides for compensation and reinstatement where an employee has been unjustly dismissed.

Upon termination of employment without cause, an employer must, at a minimum, provide any statutory termination pay and severance pay to the employee which are required under Employment Standards legislation. These statutory payments must be made in a lump sum, unless you reach agreement with your employer to permit periodic salary continuance payments over the statutory period.

An employer must also deliver an accurate Record of Employment (R.O.E.) to the employee within five (5) days of termination. This documentation is generally needed to initiate an application for employment insurance.

Severance Packages

Upon termination of employment, an employee may receive a “severance package” or proposal from an employer to pay additional compensation in lieu of notice. Usually, an employer will require that a release is signed by the employee prior to payment of any further compensation.

Often, very short time-periods or deadlines are given for the employee to consider the employer’s proposal.  Legal advice is critical, where any such proposal has been advanced by the employer, and it is essential prior to the execution of a release by the employee.

In many circumstances, significant additional compensation, over and above to amounts initially proposed by employers, can be obtained through engaging qualified Ontario employment law counsel to conduct negotiations aimed at improving severance proposals,

Compensation in Ontario wrongful dismissal claims is determined with regard to the reasonable notice the employee was entitled to receive, but did not receive, upon termination.  Depending on circumstances, in wrongful dismissal claims, damages are often calculated under Ontario employment law in the range of up to one month’s salary and benefits, in lieu of notice, for every year of an employee’s service, together with additional compensation for job-search expenses.  In certain circumstances, reasonable notice can well exceed this.

It is unusual for more than two years’ notice to be granted by Ontario courts, irrespective of the duration of employment, except in the most compelling of circumstances. However, there are rare cases, typically involving employees with very long tenure of employment, where compensation in excess of two years’ salary has been awarded.

At WISE LAW, we always pursue comprehensive compensation for our clients in wrongful dismissal and related employment law claims, including the following:

  1. Payment for an extended period of salary, benefits and other forms of compensation, in lieu of reasonable notice;
  2. Continuation of all employment benefits during the notice period. including, medical and dental benefits, pension benefits, group insurance plans
  3. Payment of salary or wages, including overtime, for the required notice period
  4. Continued eligibility for all company bonus and incentive plans
  5. Continued participation in stock option, incentives and profit-sharing plans during the reasonable notice period
  6. Continuation of other benefits like use of a company vehicle if such use was part of the employee’s compensation package
  7. Payment by the employer of the costs of suitable outplacement or vocational counselling
  8. Payment by the employer of the costs of re-training, educational upgrading and other costs incurred in searching for comparable, alternate employment
  9. General damages, where applicable, for emotional distress, discrimination, harassment or other wrongs arising in the course of employment or termination of employment
  10. Additional compensation such as moral damages or even punitive damages, where an employer’s conduct in terminating employment has been particularly egregious,  insensitive and emotionally damaging.
  11. Payment of interest and payment of the employee’s legal costs by the employee
  12. Immediate delivery of a suitable letter of reference.

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© Garry J. Wise and Wise Law Office, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This information may not be reproduced without consent in writing.