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What is Meant by Wrongful Dismissal?

Employment Law | October 15, 2020

If you have just been let go from your job and you feel like your termination was not merited, it is important to know what is meant by wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissal can be distressing on both a financial and emotional level, so it is important to know who to talk to in order to ensure that you are appropriately compensated. The employment lawyers at Linley Welwood have experience with wrongful dismissal cases and we can help you to find out whether or not you have a valid case.

What Does Wrongful Dismissal Mean?

Whenever a person enters into a position of employment, that person has a contract with their employer, regardless of whether anything was written down or signed. The terms of the contract are either determined by the circumstances of your employment, by the written terms of your employment contract (if there is one) or a combination of both. If you are dismissed from employment in a way that breaches your employment contract or the Employment Standards Act in BC, it usually qualifies as wrongful dismissal.

In other cases, there is more to the termination situation and it is important to look at whether or not the employee was treated fairly and terminated with cause or if the employer is at fault for wrongful dismissal.

How to Identify Wrongful Dismissal

In BC, employers can dismiss an employee for almost any reason; however, they must abide by the terms of the employment contract they have with their employees or the Employment Standards Act (or some combination). If any employer dismisses an employee because the employee has breached the employment contract or the employment Standards Act, then the employee has been dismissed with cause. In this case, an employee is not entitled to any notice of termination or pay-in-lieu of that notice, which is often referred to as severance pay.

If an employer dismisses an employee without any reason (that is, without cause), then the employee is entitled to a notice period for that dismissal or pay-in-lieu of that notice. The amount of notice is calculated based on a number of factors including the duration of employment, age of the employee, type of position held by the employee, etc. If these conditions are not met, there is likely a case for wrongful dismissal.

Find out more about what qualifies as appropriate termination notice in British Columbia.

If an employee is dismissed without cause but no notice or pay-in-lieu of notice was provided or if the employer has not provided enough notice/pay-in-lieu of notice, then the employee has been wrongfully dismissed. If the employee has been dismissed with cause then there is no entitlement to notice or pay-in-lieu of notice, in this case, no wrongful dismissal has taken place.

If you would like to talk more about what is meant by wrongful dismissal and whether or not your situation merits further investigation, or if you would like to learn more about any of our legal services, please contact Linley Welwood at 604-850-6640 or by filling out a contact form on our website.


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