I was recently terminated by my employer and they say they are paying me the amount prescribed by the Employment Standards Act in this province, and that therefore I am being treated fairly.  Do I have any recourse?


It is almost inevitably the case that you do have recourse.

Unless you signed an enforceable employment agreement or letter of employment which specifically provides that on termination without cause you will be paid only the minimum standards for notice and/or severance as set out in employment standards legislation, you have legal rights which may be worth pursuing.

Some employers still misinterpret the Employment Standards Act.  It sets out the minimum legal standards on a termination of employment, but the provisions of the Employment Standards Act, for notice and/or severance, are simply one element of an individual’s entitlement to proper notice, or compensation in lieu of notice, on a termination without just cause.

Almost inevitably, your common law right to notice or compensation in lieu of notice will exceed your entitlement under employment standards legislation.  Typically, the employment standards is formulaic, and provides relatively modest amounts for notice and, in some cases, severance.  An employee’s rights, however, typically reach well beyond these parameters.


Norman Grosman tackles your employment law dilemmas regularly on Workopolis. More
information about him and his legal services can be found on his website