Skip to main content

Termination Without Cause

For Employees

Losing your job can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Whether you were terminated for just cause or without cause, it’s important to understand your legal rights and entitlements in the workplace. What you might not know is that you could be entitled to additional compensation.

What is Termination for Just Cause?

Termination for just cause refers to a situation where an employer has valid and legal reasons to terminate an employee’s contract without providing any notice or severance pay. Just cause can include serious misconduct, such as theft, fraud, or workplace violence. However, it’s important to note that minor misconduct or performance issues do not typically constitute just cause for dismissal. Just because an employer alleges just cause when they dismiss you does not mean there is actually just cause!

Termination Without Cause in BC

If you believe that your termination was not for just cause, you may have legal recourse through the Employment Standards Act and/or the common law (or the body of law created through the decisions of the courts). 

Things like company realignment and/or cost cutting could be deemed as termination without cause. Depending on how your contract was structured, you may have a case for more severance than you may have received. Consulting with a lawyer will help you understand if you’re getting everything you deserve in this unfortunate event.

Entitlements Under Common Law

Under common law in British Columbia, employees who experience termination without cause in BC are entitled to a reasonable notice period or pay in lieu of notice. This notice period is meant to provide terminated employees with reasonable notice or payment in lieu of notice, which can certainly help to have a safety net when trying to secure new employment. 

Unlike statutory notice, which is based solely on the length of your employment, common law notice takes into consideration factors such as the employee’s age, position, length of employment and the availability of comparable employment taking into account their skills, education and experience. This means that you could be entitled to more far more compensation or notice than what is required under the minimums of the Employment Standards Act if, for example, there is no clear wording in your contract regarding termination.

Your entitlements under common law are generally far greater than under the Employment Standards Act. For example, under the Employment Standards Act, you’re entitled to 3 weeks notice or pay in lieu of notice if you have been employed with an employer for between 3 and 4 years. Under common law, however, you may be entitled to roughly 4 or even 5 months’ notice or payment in lieu of notice. However, under common law, you have a “duty to mitigate” or a duty to try to minimize your damages by seeking (and taking, if available) comparable re-employment to what you had with your former employer. 

Your rights are important so get advice!


1. Evaluating Your Contract:

Our accomplished team of employment lawyers is ready to thoroughly examine your employment contract. Our aim is to identify any clauses or provisions that might impact your entitlements in case of termination. We will meticulously analyze the wording and offer guidance on your rights and responsibilities.

2. Assessing the Fairness of Your Termination:

If you hold the belief that your termination lacked just cause, we can delve into the circumstances surrounding your dismissal. We will evaluate whether your employer had valid and legal grounds to end your contract without providing notice or severance pay. If there are grounds for contesting the dismissal, we will guide you through the ensuing steps.

3. Scrutinizing Evidence from Your Employer Regarding Your Termination:

The reasons for your dismissal can be very important and may entitle you to a claim for more compensation or “severance” and may even warrant damages for discrimination or bad faith. A lawyer’s job is to analyze the evidence and assess your rights. This is where we come in.  

4. Building a Solid Case and Lodging a Complaint on Your Behalf:

Drawing upon the data and evidence amassed, our seasoned employment lawyers will advise you and help you understand your rights.

We are partners with you in your case. After gathering the appropriate evidence, we will build a case and present it to first your employer, and potentially a judge.  

5. Advocating for You in Negotiations:

If your employer is open to negotiations, our legal team will engage in discussions on your behalf. Not all matters will end up in court. It’s in each party’s interest that the complaint ends during the mediation process. 

6. Providing Litigation Representation:

Should negotiations not provide a reasonable outcome, our legal team is prepared to represent you in litigation. We will present your case, representing you and fighting for you and your rights. Our lawyers possess extensive experience in employment litigation and will steadfastly fight to safeguard your rights.

How Can Ascent Assist You?

One hour with a lawyer can be invaluable to you. A lawyer skilled in the field of employment law can help you understand your contract, evaluate your termination letter and potentially get you what you deserve. Lawyers will helps parse the complexities that exist with employment contracts and termination

The right team, dedicated to your success