Wrongful Termination small claims court

Terminated Without Cause: Small Claims Route

Have you been terminated without cause? Is your employer paying enough severance for your termination? You may be able to sue your employer for more.  

Employees facing wrongful dismissal and are not receiving enough severance can sue their employer. Though you may be wondering, what do I need to do to sue? Which court should I be filing my legal claim with?  

This article briefly explains what termination without cause is, how to determine your severance entitlements, and when you should bring your claim for wrongful dismissal through Small Claims court. Further, learn how our lawyers at Achkar Law can help you negotiate and litigate your severance package. 

Terminated Without Cause. What Is It?

An employer can dismiss an employee for any reason through no fault of the employee. However, getting terminated without cause happens when the employer isn’t providing sufficient notice or compensation in place of such notice. When an employer isn’t paying an employee their legal entitlements, this becomes a wrongful dismissal case. 

How To Determine Your Severance Entitlements

Employee entitlements, if terminated without cause, include but aren’t limited to: 

  1. Statutory entitlements under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000
  2. Common law reasonable notice; and 
  3. Other torts and causes of action

How much severance an employer owes for terminating an employee without cause depends on specific facts and compensation the employee receives as part of their employment. Typically, employees are earning more severance the longer they work for an employer. 

What To Do When Terminated Without Cause

Don’t sign anything if you have been terminated without cause. Instead, you start seeking legal advice as soon as possible to start negotiating a severance package with your employer. If early negotiations fail, your next step is commencing legal proceedings against your employer for wrongful dismissal. 

You can continue negotiating with your employer while your case moves forward in the legal process. At this phase, begin considering circumstances and strategic needs. This will help you decide which court to file your claim with. Choosing the Small Claims court is one option.

When Should You Bring Claims Through The Small Claims Court? 

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice is the main court for bringing civil claims. This includes cases where employees are terminated without cause. When commencing an action through the Superior Court, it is essential to follow the Rules of Civil Procedure. Typically, losing a case in the Superior Court of Justice results in an employer’s legal costs getting awarded against you. 

When damages for termination without cause are $35,000 or less, starting your claim through the Small Claims Court may be better. The Small Claims Court simplifies its procedure, providing quicker resolutions, costing less. It also limits and defines the reward between parties. 

It’s essential to be realistic about your severance entitlements. If an employee’s reasonable entitlements from terminating an employee without cause has a value of $35,000.00 or less, you should be filing the claim with the Small Claims court. Failing to comply with this general procedural rule can result in costs awarded against you. This can be the case even if your claim is successful.

Affording legal representation or paying for the other side’s costs if you lose can be difficult if you are experiencing wrongful termination. As a potential solution, the Small Claims court’s procedures are easier for self-representing parties to litigate their issues and begin achieving desirable results without significant expense. Even if a party loses in Small Claims, cost awards are typically limited to 15% of the claim’s value, but this can vary.

If you are looking for a job, you may need severance entitlements more quickly to help pay your bills. The advantage of a Small Claims court is it is quicker than an ordinary civil court. Reaching a settlement conference or trial for resolution at a Small Claims court is usually faster than the Superior Court.   


Not giving enough notice or paying instead of this notice constitutes wrongful dismissal. It is important to begin negotiating a severance package when terminated without cause. When negotiating isn’t effective, it is time for litigation. 

If an employer is terminating you without cause and you want to pursue severance entitlements, bringing your claim through the Small Claims Court is best when:

  1. The amount you’re seeking is $35,000.00 or less; 
  2. You are self-representing and want to minimize your risk of paying the employer’s legal costs if you lose; and 
  3. You are looking for a faster resolution. 

There are many facts and issues creating a legitimate basis for minimum severance entitlements. Consulting one of our experienced employment and litigation lawyers at Achkar Law is important to determine the best next steps. Deciding to proceed through the Small Claims court needs to be an informed decision. 

Contact Us

Whether you are an employer or an employee looking for assistance respecting terminations without cause or litigation, our team of experienced employment and human rights 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.

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