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How Much Can You Sue For Wrongful Dismissal In Ontario?

When it comes to employment law in Ontario, there is no “at-will” employment. Therefore, employers who dismiss employees are obligated to provide them with reasonable notice or payment in lieu of reasonable notice, in addition to other potential damages. Below is a summary of some of the damages available to employees in a non-unionized setting who have been wrongfully dismissed, and ultimately the answer to: How much can you sue for wrongful dismissal in Ontario?

Reasonable Notice or Pay in Lieu of Notice

In Ontario, how much can you sue for wrongful dismissal ultimately relies on different factors and considerations.  Typically, employers are required to provide dismissed employees with notice or pay in lieu of notice for the dismissal. The damages are calculated based on the employee’s age, years of service, role, and state of the employment market at the time of dismissal. Annual compensation can also be a factor that is considered. This criteria for calculating damages is referred to as an employee’s Bardal factors, and it comes from an important Supreme Court of Canada decision from the year 1960. The better an employee’s Bardal factors are, the more they will be entitled to upon dismissal.

However, in some cases, an employee may be bound by an employment contract that either limits their reasonable notice entitlements or fixes them to a certain amount. Every dismissal case is different and the first step will often require determining if there are any limits to an employee’s entitlements.

Human Rights Violations

Within Ontario, both provincially and federally regulated employers have a duty not to discriminate against their employees. If an employer ever dismisses an employee for reasons related to a disability, a religious reason, or any other ground covered by Ontario’s Human Rights Code, then the employee may be able to claim human rights damages in addition to reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice damages.

Where a human rights issue exists, it only has to be one of the reasons for an employee’s dismissal in order to be able to claim human rights damages. But what are other factors in deciding ‘how much can you sue for wrongful dismissal in Ontario?”

Moral Damages

Every employment agreement contains an implied term that the employer will treat the employee in good faith. This duty of good faith also extends to dismissals and requires employers to dismiss employees in a respectful manner if they decide to terminate the employment relationship.

Where an employer does not dismiss an employee in good faith, the employee may be able to claim moral damages for the manner of the dismissal. An example of bad faith might include spreading rumours to the employee’s co-workers regarding the reason for the employee’s dismissal.

Moral damages can be significant but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining an employee’s entitlement to moral damages, as a result, it is best to consult an employment lawyer who can help determine how much you can sue for wrongful dismissal in Ontario.

So how much can you sue for wrongful dismissal in Ontario? The only real way to calculate the answer to this question is by meeting with a workplace lawyer to find out.

Contact Us

If you are an employer who is facing a wrongful dismissal claim or an employee who has been wrongfully dismissed, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at + 1-800-771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our CLO Program page for our strategic solutions.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as or should be construed as legal advice and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected]