Employee Dismissals

When it comes to employee dismissals, also known as employee terminations, it is in an employer’s best interest to follow human resources best practices. Terminating an employee has many legal considerations. It is important to understand what to do and what not to do so that you can avoid legal challenges for wrongful dismissal.

What is the law behind employee dismissals?

The rules for employee terminations are established in your province’s employment standards regulations.

How to Dismiss an Employee

There are certain situations where an employer cannot terminate an employee, even with termination pay and severance pay. We always advise employers to seek advice before dismissing an employee.


  1. Give written notice of termination in accordance with the legal obligation of employers to provide an adequate notice period; under employment standards, this is based on an employee’s length of employment
  2. Provide termination pay (also known as pay in lieu of notice) if dismissal occurs without notice
  3. Ensure that employment contracts have a clear termination clause that meets the minimum standards under employment standards regulations


  1. Refuse a positive reference—it is advised for employers to confirm their former employees’ dates of employment, position, title, and responsibilities without further comment
  2. Assume just cause to terminate without notice, unless you have proof of serious misconduct
  3. Misinform employees of their termination package; termination entitlements should be clearly stated in your employment contract

Constructive Dismissals

In addition to fully terminating an employee, a constructive dismissal can occur if an employee resigns in response to a change to their job. Specifically, this may occur when an employer significantly changes a fundamental employment term or condition without the employee’s actual or implied consent. Constructive dismissals can also result from a series of small changes that, when added together, affect an employee’s work and ultimately lead to resignation. This area of the law is complex, and we advise clients to ask for legal help to avoid any challenges.

Considering your legal obligations surrounding employee termination?

We can answer your questions about employee dismissals, or any other employment-related matter. Employer Line offers a complimentary advice line with HR experts Pick up the phone for a free consultation.