Alberta Employment Law: How to fire someone and not get sued
A large focus in our law firm is acting for fired employees. From that side we see many mistakes that employers make. We also act for employers in the course of our corporate law practice, so we thought we would switch the angle of our analysis for this article. How can employers end the employment relationship in a way that doesn't leave them open for a lawsuit?
Remember Your Employees Are People
Treating people with dignity and respect should be standard in every workplace. Employment is a hugely important part of everyone who works life. It is a source of identity. When you take away someone's employment you are removing some of their identity, along with the ability to provide for their families. So don't be a robot, don't instantly walk them out the door. Give them a bit of time to collect themselves and their belongings. If they do try to negotiate, don't be adversarial and treat them with respect.
Don't make a lowball severance offer
Our practice is to prepare a form of quantum assessment setting out a range for potential severance. If you want to end the matter with dignity for both parties, be reasonable, be fair, and pay near the top of the scale. Offer people what they should get. If employers actually followed this advice there would be little need for Plaintiff employment lawyers.
If you have cause, build a case
Sometimes an employee makes lots of mistakes and has problems with tardiness among other things. If you actually have a valid reason to fire someone, make an appropriate record of problems so that you can build the case for cause.
Engage counsel early
Employment law is full of pitfalls for the unwary: it is highly advisable to retain counsel if you are looking at terminating employees. Please feel free to contact us if you need legal advice in this regard.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.