TERMINATION FOR CAUSE
Termination for Cause in Alberta
Termination for cause is an extraordinary act and should only be explored by an employer as a measure of last resort. Long considered the 'capital punishment' of disciplinary measures, employers must meet a high standard of proof if it chooses to dismiss an employee without providing proper notice or payment in lieu of notice.
Under most circumstances, an employer must demonstrate that it first explored alternative measures, including written disciplinary letters, prior to relying upon termination for cause. For cause termination is only permitted where there is a complete breakdown in the employee-employer relationship to the point that continued employment is impossible.
The term 'cause' is not to be confused with 'reasons' for termination. An employer may have multiple legitimate reasons to terminate you, including restructuring, cutbacks, personality conflicts, or even poor performance. This does not mean that they have established 'cause' to terminate you without proper severance. Again, 'cause' is typically reserved for the most egregious forms of employee conduct. The vast majority of employees who are terminated have in fact been terminated without cause, regardless of the wording used by their employer in a termination letter.
An employer either has cause to terminate you, or it doesn't. It is a black and white affair. If they fail to establish cause, you are likely owed severance in accordance with the common law like every other employee, even if your performance with the company was less than stellar.
If you have been terminated on an alleged cause basis, it is important to speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. For cause terminations affect more than just severance, they can also jeopardize your ability to secure E.I. as you look for new employment.
Have you been let go without severance?
Speak with an attorney today and have your matter reviewed.
Basic Information for Employees Terminated For Cause
What if my employment contract contains a termination clause?
While a termination clause can negatively impact the amount of termination pay that you are owed, the clause has to be worded in a very particular manner. Even if you do have a termination provision, there is a very good chance that it may be unenforceable. Do not assume the worst, run your employment agreement by an employment attorney today.
What if the Labour Standards Board has already told me I don't have a case?
The representatives at the Labour Standards Board are not lawyers. They are not trained in the common law and are not equipped to advise you on your full rights. Your entitlement to notice under the Code is only one aspect of a much broader spectrum of employment rights. Talk to an employment specialist, even if you have already spoken to the Board.
What if my employer has given me a deadline to sign my severance package?
Your right to fair compensation does not go away just because an employer has imposed a deadline. In fact, a short-term deadline is usually a red flag that your employer has offered you a bad severance package. Even so, it is important that you speak to a Calgary-based employment lawyer as soon as possible. We strive to accommodate same-day phone consultations whenever possible.
I am worried about my reputation in the industry. I do not want to burn any bridges.
There is no shame in standing up for your rights. At the end of the day, you and your employer have a contract, and they should be living up to their end of the bargain. Most severance negotiations are highly professional, private and confidential, and do not jeopardize an employee's prospects of future employment. In fact, it is in your employer's best interest to see that you secure comparable employment elsewhere.