Wrongful Termination

by Tim Louis

If your employment has been terminated by your employer , you are entitled to severance pay unless your employer is able to prove they had cause to ‘let you go’. Cause would include: theft, insubordination, and chronic tardiness. If your employer did not have cause, then you are entitled to severance pay. The amount of severance pay you are entitled to is governed by two different types of law – statutory law and common law.

Wrongful Termination

Generally speaking you are entitled to more severance pay under common law than under statutory law.

Employment Law: What is the difference between Statutory and Common Law?

Statutory law is law created by government when it passes a statute. If your employer’s type of business is governed provincially, then British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act is the statute. If your employer’s type of business is governed federally, then federal law applies. Most types of businesses are governed provincially. Banks and Airlines are two examples of types of businesses that are governed federally.

Common law is law created each time someone goes to Court. Over time, literally thousands of cases are decided by a Court. In each case, the judge decides how much severance pay to award by looking at many different factors such as length of employment and age of the terminated employee.

What is Considered Wrongful Termination in British Columbia

In British Columbia, the Employment Standards Act provides you with the following statutory entitlement to severance pay if you have been terminated without cause. Being fired, or let go without cause is known as wrongful termination or wrongful dismissal.

  • After 3 months of service: 1 weeks’ pay
  • After 12 months of service: 2 weeks’ pay
  • After 3 years of service: 3 weeks’ pay, plus 1 week of pay for each additional year of employment (to a maximum of 8 weeks)

In British Columbia, the common law will entitle you to severance pay in the range of 4 to 6 weeks severance pay per year of employment depending upon many different factors as described above.

Remember that you are not entitled to any severance pay -either statutory or common law – if your employer can prove they have cause to terminate your employment.

Can I Sue for Wrongful Dismissal?

However just because your employer says they have cause to terminate, doesn’t mean they do. I had a case recently where I sued my client’s former employer. In their Response to Civil Claim, the employer alleged just cause. They listed numerous allegations against my client, including diverting customer money into my client’s own pocket.

However, as soon as I demanded particulars of each and every allegation from the employer’s lawyer, their case began to fall apart. I ended up forcing the employer to pay my client a very significant amount of money due to wrongful termination.

Wrongful Termination: What am I entitled to?

  • If your employer’s business is covered by provincial law, then you are not entitled to your job back if your employer did not have just cause. All you are entitled to is severance pay.
  • If your employer’s business is covered by federal law, you may be entitled to your job back.
  • If you have been terminated, it is very important you seek legal advice from an experienced labor lawyer.

I have been Wrongfully Dismissed – what are the next steps?

If you have been wrongfully terminated, contact Wrongful Dismissal lawyer Tim Louis for a free telephone consultation.

Don’t accept a severance offer, or an exit agreement before first talking to an employment lawyer.

Tim is on your side to fight for you and get the compensation you deserve or file a compliant.

Contact Tim Louis today at (604) 732-7678!

Learn More about Your Rights

You need to know your rights, in order to ensure you are treated with the respect you deserve. Employment in British Columbia falls under the Employment Standards Act.

Here are some links to learn more.
Employee Rights in British Columbia
Employment Standards Act – BC Law
Workplace Rights
Wrongful Dismissal

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