Notice Periods


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Published November 19, 2021

It is well established by the Courts that an Employer has an almost unfettered right to terminate the employment of an employee. However, in the event of a termination of employment on a without cause basis (meaning no fault of the employee) the debate over the amount of notice or pay in lieu thereof required to be provided by an employer to a former employee upon termination will vary on a case by case basis.

A “notice period” is the amount of time an employee is entitled to continue their employment and receive their normal salary or pay before they are dismissed. Once the appropriate notice period is determined, either by agreement between the parties or by way of subsequent Court Order, the employer may elect to simply provide payment to the employee and not require the employee to perform any further duties or responsibilities (which is by far the most common option).

The longer the employee has worked with the same employer, then the longer the required notice period.  While each case may vary, a common accepted guiding principle has been a maximum notice period of twenty-four (24) months for those employees who are terminated after reaching more than twenty (20) years of continuous employment with the same employer.

Recent decisions at Ontario courts have resulted in notice periods longer than 24 months i.e. Dussault v Imperial Oil Ltd. (2018 ONSC 1168) and Mikelsteins v Morrison (2018 ONSC 6952). The latest ruling on notice periods from the Ontario Court of Appeal held that this recent development in employment law was unreasonable.

In the case of Dawe v Equitable Life (2019 ONCA 512) the Court of Appeal held that the longest reasonable notice period is 24 months, barring exceptional circumstances. The court was unclear on exactly what exceptional circumstances may be. However, the court did provide some guidance on what were not exceptional circumstances, including being a few years away from retirement age, and being employed in a senior position at a company where you have worked your entire life.

If you have recently been terminated due to the COVID-19 Pandemic or for any other reason, it’s important that you know your rights. Please contact our firm for a free initial consultation with one of the lawyers at Refcio and Associates.

 

Please be advised that the information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as legal advice. Every legal situation is different, and the information contained in this blog may not apply to your particular set of circumstances. If you would like a free initial consultation tailored to your circumstances, please follow THIS link (https://www.rrlaw.ca/london/) to contact our office.

Please be advised that the information contained in this blog post is for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as legal advice. Every legal situation is different, and the information contained in this post may not apply to your particular set of circumstances.