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Fired in Alberta: Manner of Termination and Aggravated Damages

One of the factors that can be important in determining the amount of severance a fired employee is entitled to is the manner of termination. Work is of fundamental importance in most employee's lives. Accordingly the courts have created an obligation for employers to act in good faith in the manner of dismissal- when employers don't they will be liable.

The Alberta Court of Appeal had a good discussion in Merrill Lynch Canada Inc v Soost, 2010 ABCA 251 at para 16, 487 AR 389, wherein the court laid out various things that could lead to aggravated damages: [A] boss who tells all the fellow employees, or the employee’s spouse and children, that the dismissed employee is stupid or incompetent. It is hard to think of circumstances where there would be any need to do that. Another example might be dismissing the employee within a day or two of a daughter’s wedding, or of the death of a parent. Another example would be insincerely alleging to others embarrassing or demeaning (but unfounded) reasons for the dismissal (whether or not they would be just cause if true), when the employer does not honestly believe those grounds exist.

Other cases have found that pre-termination conduct can also be considered, as can things like wrongly alleging cause.

If you have been fired in Edmonton, Calgary, or elsewhere in Alberta, please feel free to contact us to speak to one of our employment lawyers.

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.

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