Terminating employee who gives lengthy notice of resignation

Senior employee giving six months' notice of intention to leave
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/29/2011

Question: Senior employees are often expected to provide more than the minimum two-week notice period if they resign. If an employee provides, for example, six months’ notice, can the employer then terminate with the minimum employment standards termination notice or pay?

Answer: The obligations of a resigning employee do not get nearly as much attention as those of the terminating employer. According to the 1993 Ontario decision Sure-Grip Fasteners Ltd. v. Allgrade Bolt & Chain Inc., “an employee is obligated by law to give reasonable notice of termination to his or her employer. The main purpose of the notice of resignation is to allow the employer a reasonable time to find a replacement.”

Many people think employees are simply required to provide two weeks of notice. While that is not an unreasonable amount of notice in most cases, the legal reality is that every case is supposed to be assessed upon its own particular set of circumstances. Senior employees, and those who will be particularly difficult to replace, are likely to be required to provide significantly more notice of resignation.