Termination for Cause
In Ontario, an employee can be terminated for cause or without cause. An employee is terminated without cause when the termination is of no fault of their own (this is usually the case), or they are let go for workplace misconduct that is not significant. The reasons behind a termination without cause may include cost, restructuring, cutting, poor work performance or the employer no longer having work for the employee. A company can even let you go simply because they don’t like you. It is completely legal for an employer to terminate your employment as long as the reason for the termination or lay off is not discriminatory. Employees that are dismissed/terminated without cause are entitled to notice or payment in lieu of termination notice.
A termination for cause is the capital punishment crime of employment law because the employee is not provided with notice of termination or a severance package. Also, the dismissed employee may be ineligible to collect employment insurance benefits and is likely to find it more difficult to find new employment. An employer may legally terminate an employee’s employment for just cause if the employer can prove that the employee committed the following:
- Wilful misconduct;
- Wilful neglect of duty that is not trivial and has not been condoned by the employer;
- Sexual misconduct or harassment; or
If you are confronted with a termination without cause, it is extremely important that you speak to an employment lawyer to ensure that your employment rights are enforced and that you receive a fair severance package that takes into account all of the factors that can maximize the amount you should receive. If the package offered is not fair or you are not offered any severance package, you may have a wrongful dismissal claim.
If you are terminated for cause, it is exceptionally important that you contact an employment lawyer. Oftentimes, employers incorrectly classify behaviour such as poor work performance as “cause,” which complicates the process of obtaining EI and prevents the employee from receiving his severance package. The law is clear that to justify a termination for cause (where an employee is not provided notice of termination or a severance package) an employer must prove that it had a valid legal reason as listed above to summarily terminate an employee. This threshold is high, and the onus is on the employer to prove just cause.
Contact Mackenzie Law today to determine whether your employer has miscategorised your actions to the degree that it is legally justified to terminate your employment without providing you with a severance package.