The truth about wrongful dismissal

Employees can be dismissed for any reason as long as reasonable notice is given and statutory rights are recognized
By Alex Kowal
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/09/2012

Employers are often concerned when they receive a letter claiming a former employee was “wrongfully dismissed” or entitled to damages for “wrongful dismissal” since the term suggests the act of termination was blameworthy or wrong. However, provided an employee is treated fairly in the course of dismissal and the employer does not breach a statutory duty or violate an employee’s statutory right, there is nothing “wrong” about dismissing an employee and providing her with reasonable notice or pay in lieu thereof.

As highlighted recently by the Alberta Court of Appeal in Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. v. Soost, the term “wrongful dismissal” is misleading. Apart from employers who are governed by the Canada Labour Code, the term “wrongful dismissal” does not have any legal significance.