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Wrongful Dismissal

Definitions: Wrongful Dismissal

A wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer dismisses an employee without cause and without reasonable notice, unless permitted by contract to do so.

The usual rule at law is that a non-unionized employee can be lawfully dismissed without any cause as long as they are provided with reasonable notice of the dismissal. If an employer terminates an employee without cause, but fails to provide reasonable notice, then the dismissal is a wrongful dismissal.1

A wrongfully dismissed employee is entitled to wrongful dismissal damages, often referred to as pay in lieu of notice, as compensation.

However, an employer is not required to provide reasonable notice if there is just cause for the dismissal, or if there is an enforceable employment contract that permits termination with less than reasonable notice.

  1. Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, 2008 SCC 39 at para 50 []