This post is also available in: Français (French)
So, you landed your dream job and have been working hard as expected since. The out of the blue, you get a notice that your job has been terminated. Whether you are given the time to transition out from the position or are instantly walked to the parking garage, losing a job is certainly one of the most stressful things in life.
It even feels worse when you have questions regarding why you were laid off. Was it something you did or said? Was your termination unfair, or an illegal dismissal? Is it possible to sue your ex-employer?
Employment laws tend to vary from region to region, but the instances where your dismissal might have been illegal remain constant:
You Were Discriminated Against
Yes, this seems archaic, but people in the workplace are still being fired due to their gender, religion, age, race and citizenship, which is illegal. Other classes such as pregnant women and the LGBT community are protected as well. Unlawful discrimination can lead to a discrimination charge or a lawsuit. In regards to claims, a worker making a claim needs to prove that the wrongful dismissal was actually based on discrimination.
The Employer Retaliated Against You
If you saw wrongful activities at the workplace and reported them, and was fired as a result, then you have a claim for wrongful dismissal. Employment laws are there to protect workers who report illegal conduct or criminal activity. Simply put, an employer cannot terminate whistleblowers.
Ideally, an individual can’t be lawfully fired because they filed a workers compensation claim. If you are making this form of claim, you’ll need to prove it was retaliation and not something like poor performance.
You Were Discussing Labor or Workplace Issues With Your Colleagues
Employees also can’t be laid off for engaging in protected concerted activity or simply put, discussing with the coworkers regarding ways to improve working conditions or wages. Also, you do not have to be a member of a union in order to be protected under this law. If you believe that your employer terminated your job in response to protected concerted activity, then you certainly have a claim.
However, keep in mind that the law protects workers who are working together in order to change the working conditions. The law won’t necessarily protect your individual complaints and so, you can be laid off for venting to a co-worker regarding your impossible boss.
So, Should You Sue
If you strongly believe that your dismissal was uncalled for, you should instantly consult an employment lawyer in your region. Regardless of how well you know your rights, it is usually not advisable to file a complaint without the help of a lawyer. Also, there’s a deadline to filing a claim and so, you’ll want to do this quickly. Most lawyers provide free consultations and will be able to give you quick insight, to help you make an informed decision on the best way to proceed. For assistance regarding such matters and more information, visit OLS Quebec.