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Fired: Mitigation and Employment Law in Alberta

There is a complication in employment law in Alberta which many employees are unaware of. This is called mitigation. Severance (or pay in lieu of notice as it is often called) is not intended to be a windfall for employees. Rather, the courts look at it as a "bridge" to the next job. In a situation where an employee is terminated, the legal system expects employees to "mitigate" their damages.

Mitigation means that an employee must take reasonable steps to look for their next job. If they do not due so, then the damages an employee is entitled to can be lessened to reflect the employee's failure to mitigate their damages. If an employee is fortunate and able to find a job, then damages are lessened to the extent that the lost salary is replaced.

Mitigation is a concept that is used broadly in commercial law. Unfortunately, mitigation means that many employer take the tactic and waiting to see if an employee mitigates their damages before settling a severance claim. In our view mitigation causes unnecessary harshness to employees and gives an unnecessary advantage to employers, although this is settled law and unlikely to changes any time soon.

If you have been terminated and would like to discuss how mitigation will affect your case, please feel free to contact us:

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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