Rule of thumb for providing notice?

How to determine what's reasonable notice of dismissal
By Brian Johnston
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/22/2013

Question: How much notice is reasonable to give to a dismissed employee to avoid legal trouble? I have heard roughly one month per year of service is a safe assumption, and have seen court decisions approximating that amount.

Answer: There are two types of legal trouble an employer can get into when dismissing a non-unionized employee without cause. One type is for failing to fulfill employment standards obligations. The extent of those obligations can easily be ascertained and varies from province to province, depending mostly on years of service.

The other type of trouble is failing to provide reasonable notice or compensation in lieu, based upon common law principles. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for determining an employee’s entitlement to reasonable notice. Court awards are fact-specific and a myriad of factors are considered. The most pervasive factors tend to be the employee’s years of service, age, circumstances under which the employment arose and employability.