What Are You Entitled To If You Are Terminated Without Cause?

When an employee is terminated without cause, it means they are dismissed for reasons other than workplace misconduct or breach of contract, which would, in that case, be defined as ‘termination with just cause.’

Oftentimes termination without cause occurs during times of economic downturn or when a company is trying to cut costs or chooses to engage in restructuring or realignment. As long as the reason for the termination or lay-off is not discriminatory, such actions are completely legal.

If your employer follows the employment law, and manages the termination correctly, including giving you reasonable notice of termination, meaning notice or pay in lieu of notice, you will have sufficient time to seek other means of employment or at least be compensated financially for your loss of work.

If the employer does not follow the correct legal procedures, a wrongful dismissal case may result, which means it would be time for you to seek the services of an employment lawyer to make a claim for compensation.

How much payment are you due under statute law when terminated without cause?

Payment due is dependent on the duration of your employment at the company. Nevertheless, the following minimum statutory requirements apply:

  • After three consecutive months of employment: one week’s pay must be provided
  • After 12 consecutive months of employment: two weeks’ pay must be provided
  • After 36 consecutive months of employment: three weeks’ pay must be provided
  • For each additional year: a week’s pay (up to a maximum of eight weeks) must be provided

How much payment is your due under common law if you are terminated without cause?

At common law, you are entitled to substantially more than under statute law. Each case is different depending on age and skill set. Generally speaking, you are entitled to between 4-6 weeks of severance pay per year of employment. However, your employer can deduct from this amount any income you earn during this period of time. Even if you earn no money during this time, the court will make a deduction if you failed to make reasonable efforts to look for employment.

When is a payment not required when terminated without cause?

Pay is not required when terminated without cause if reasonable notice is provided. Under common law, reasonable notice is based on length of service, the age of the employee, type of position and the availability of similar employment at the time of termination.

Under these guidelines, the reasonable notice might amount to at least one month per year of service. This may also be specified in your original employment contract. However, even though your contract may require less notice of termination than common law requirements, it cannot be less than the entitlements listed under the BC Employment Standards Act.

As long as these requirements are met, no payment is necessary in termination without cause cases.

Pay or notice is not required in the following circumstances:

  • You resign or retire
  • Your contract ended
  • You have worked at the company for less than three consecutive months
  • You worked on-call (freelanced), were hired to perform specific work in 12 months or less, or were hired temporarily
  • An unexpected event makes it impossible for the planned duties to be carried out
  • You refuse to accept reasonable alternative employment
  • You are terminated for just cause

The reasonable notice and compensation laws governing termination are clear. All employers and even employees should understand them; otherwise, the laws might be breached, and unfair dismissal cases result, which calls for court action.

Filing a wrongful dismissal claim in Vancouver

If you were terminated without proper notice or pay and wish to file a wrongful dismissal claim, contact us at Tim Louis and Company. Our experienced Vancouver employment lawyer will evaluate your case and guide you through the process.