Bad Faith Dismissal

Employers have a duty of good faith to be open, honest, and straightforward with employees regarding reasons for their termination. When an employer conducts themselves in such a way that undermines that duty, the dismissal may be seen as being in bad faith. An employee dismissed in bad faith may be eligible to collect damages as compensation.

If you believe you have been dismissed in bad faith, or would like to discuss any legal questions pertinent to your specific situation, contact our team and schedule your free consultation today.

What Is a Bad Faith Dismissal in Ontario?

A bad faith dismissal is when there is conduct by the employer that does not hold up to the standards of honesty, straightforwardness, and truthfulness expected of them. Because there is no legislation on bad faith, other than the Employment Standards Act (ESA), which applies in some circumstances, there is a degree of subjectivity as to the nature of a bad faith dismissal.

What Are an Employer’s Obligations in Dismissing an Employee?

Where applicable, the employer is obligated to comply with the guidelines set out in the ESA. Not all employees are subject to the ESA, however – for example, individuals in professional roles, such as lawyers, accountants and doctors, may be exempt.

What Are Examples of Bad Faith Conduct by an Employer During a Dismissal?

Depending on the circumstances, bad faith conduct may involve:

  • Bullying
  • Changing of circumstances such that the employee feels an immense amount of stress
  • Termination simply out of convenience for the employer
  • Retaliation
  • Or more

The relationship between the employer and employee plays a prominent role in matters of bad faith dismissal.

How Does the Court Determine if a Dismissal Has Been Made in Bad Faith?

When determining whether a dismissal has been made in bad faith, the court will look at the overall picture: the employer’s conduct, the employee’s conduct, as well as any evidence proffered by the employee. The onus falls on the employee to prove their termination was made in bad faith.

Examples of evidence of the employer’s behaviour may include:

  • Emails
  • Voicemails
  • Text messages
  • Other forms of correspondence
  • Witness testimony, eg. from a colleague
  • And more

What Constitutes “Reasonable” Conduct in a Dismissal?

“Reasonable” conduct may include proper communication about what led to the dismissal. If notice is appropriate, the employer is expected to provide it in writing. If an employer wishes to terminate an employee effective immediately, they may offer pay in lieu of notice. Pay in lieu is remuneration for the final weeks an employee would have worked had they received notice. The ESA outlines how much notice or pay in lieu of notice an employee is entitled to receive, depending on how long they have worked at their place of employment.

What Happens if I Have Been Dismissed in Bad Faith?

If you believe you have been dismissed in bad faith, you should speak with an employment lawyer. Contact us at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP today to schedule your free consultation.

What Damages Can an Employee Get After a Bad Faith Dismissal?

After a bad faith dismissal, an employee may be eligible to collect notice pay damages, which are calculated in relation to their salary. They may also be eligible for moral damages, as well as punitive damages.

What Are Moral Damages in a Bad Faith Dismissal Case?

Moral damages are similar to aggravated damages. This involves looking at what the employer’s conduct has done to the individual, and how it has affected them emotionally, psychologically, financially, and more. Considering these circumstances, through which an employer may have put the employee, moral damages may be awarded.

Moral damages are different from punitive damages. Punitive damages are a lump sum amount that is awarded to punish an employer for their conduct. Moral damages are intended to compensate for the suffering that the employee has endured.

How Can an Employment Lawyer Help Me With a Bad Faith Dismissal?

An employment lawyer may be able to help walk you through the circumstances of your individual matter and advise you directly on whether you have a claim for a bad faith dismissal or any other type of remuneration in the employment context.

How Long Does a Bad Faith Dismissal Case Usually Take to Settle?

Depending on the complexity of the matter, settling a bad faith dismissal case can take anywhere from months to years.

What Should I Prepare to Speak With a Lawyer About a Bad Faith Dismissal?

When preparing to speak with a Toronto employment lawyer about a bad faith dismissal, you should prepare:

  • Any employment agreements you have with your former employer
  • Any relevant text messages, emails, or other correspondences from the employer
  • The contact information of individuals who witnessed events relevant to your dismissal
  • Your termination letter

What Are My Rights if I’ve Been Dismissed in Bad Faith?

If you have been dismissed in bad faith, you may be able to pursue legal action against the employer within two years of the date of the termination. Contact our Toronto bad faith dismissal lawyers to discuss the possibilities in your particular case.

Contact Our Lawyers Today For a Free Consultation

If you believe you have been dismissed in bad faith, there may be financial compensation available to you. Contact our team today to schedule your free consultation and let us help.

*Please be advised that the content of this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of bad faith dismissal in Ontario, and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with an employment lawyer.

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