Please note that if your position was unionized, much of what follows may not apply to you, as your rights will be determined by referring to your collective agreement. Your union should be in a position to advise you of your options upon termination.
In a non-unionized workplace, the most important thing to realize about the law relating to termination of employment in Ontario is that employers are not required to provide just cause before terminating an employee. Employers are, however, required to provide “reasonable notice” of termination, and to either allow the employee to continue working through the notice period (“working notice”), or, more commonly, provide the terminated employed with pay and benefits of employment equal to what the employee would have earned during that time.
If your employer has fired you without providing either working notice or pay and benefits that you would have earned during an appropriate notice period, you may have the option of bringing a claim under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 or to bring a claim in court for wrongful dismissal. If successful, depending on your employment compensation package, the damages that you may be owed by your employer could include:
- Continuation of salary
- Continuation of group benefits, such as medical and dental coverage
- Pension plan or RRSP contributions
- Any bonuses or pay increases expected during the reasonable notice period
- Vacation pay
- Damages for loss of use of a company car or transit plan
- Stock options
However, there are certain situations where further damages or even reinstatement may be an option. For example, if you believe that your termination is the result of discrimination against you by the employer based upon prohibited grounds, you may be able to claim further damages or reinstatement to your job under the Ontario Human Rights Code. In such cases, if you were terminated due to your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or because of your membership in any other protected class, further remedies may be available. This may also be the case if your termination was a result of an attempt to exercise your legal rights under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or other statutes.