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The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Employees of businesses in Ontario who aren’t a part of a worker’s union have less protection from bosses. Just because you were terminated without a good reason or a reason at all doesn’t mean you were wrongfully dismissed. Even if you were among the best workers under your boss’ employment, your boss is free to terminate employees unless the Canada Labour Code applies to your job or a collective agreement has laid out otherwise.
The Canada Labour Code was written for employees of the federal government, financial institutions like banks, railroads, airlines, and others. If you were fired for exercising your rights under the Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Employment Standards Act, 2000, or some other statute, you may sue for your job back.
Some of the rights you have as an employee are to be exercised without threat of dismissal. This includes taking the legally designated amount of time for maternity, pregnancy, or parental leave, and extra time allotted as outlined in your employment contract. Additionally if you ask your employer about your rights, your employer may not respond by terminating your employment.
When an Employment Standards Officer investigates your employer, your employer may not threaten you with dismissal for your cooperation in turning over information to the ESO. Finally, asking your employer to obey laws as they apply to the business is not an offense you can be fired over.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour can order your reinstatement at your old job. If you are fired without reasonable notice, you may seek compensation by taking your employer to court.
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Notice is for all employees, whether or not it was a part of their employment contract, and it entitles employees who have worked for at least three continuous months a year at the company one week per year of such employment. After eight years, the employer is not obligated to continue increasing the minimum amount of notice by one week per year. Equal payment of wages earned in that time is also a suitable replacement of notice.
In addition to notice, you may be due severance pay from your employer if your employer has a payroll for all their employees of 2.5 million or more. Severance is also payable when fifty or more employees were terminated within a six month period because of the closure of all or part of your employer’s business and that is true.
If you believe your termination was a result of discrimination, it’s possible to sue your employer for damages in the human rights court. Discrimination against older employees, disability, family status, marital status, creed, sex, pregnancy, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural background are not permitted at the workplace.
Sometimes employees are required by employers to sign a release in exchange for their severance pay at the time of termination. It’s possible to have signed the contract, taken the severance, and still sue the employer. Depending on the contract, if the release was unconscionable, its enforcement won’t be enforced in court.
About the Author
Clinton Haglund who rose from Toronto in the year 1981. He completed his Masters in Business Administration from Rot man school of management in Toronto. He has a great passion for business and currently runs a business in Ontario. Clinton has a knack for helping ambitious business people to determine how they can get more with less by focusing and refining their business strategy and processes. For more updates, you can follow him on Twitter @clintonHaglund.