Termination Without Cause in BC

As an employee in Canada, you are entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice if you are terminated by your employer without cause.

This protects most employees from simply being left without a job without any warning or compensation.

If your employer does not provide either reasonable pay or notice, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

What does termination without cause mean?

Termination Without Cause in BCTermination without cause is when an employer fires an employee from a position because their services are no longer required or for any reason other than misconduct. 

When termination occurs because of misconduct or a breach of contract, it is usually called termination with just cause

Without cause termination often happens during times of economic downturn or when a company is trying to cut costs.

If your employer follows BC employment law and manages the termination correctly, you will have sufficient time to look for other work or at least be compensated financially for your loss of work.

For example, an employer can ask you to leave today but agree to pay you adequately for the time you have served at the company.

If the letter of the law is not followed by an employer, a wrongful dismissal case may result and it is time to contact an employment lawyer.

Can you terminate without cause in BC?

Yes, termination without cause in BC is perfectly legal if the employer first provides either:

  • Reasonable notice of termination, or
  • Reasonable pay instead of notice

How much pay am I entitled to when terminated without cause in BC?

If a BC employer fails to provide reasonable notice before terminating you, adequate payment must be provided or a wrongful dismissal case could be brought against them.

How much payment are you due?

This depends on how long you have been employed at the company. The following minimum statutory requirements apply:

  • After three consecutive months of employment: one week’s pay must be provided
  • After 12 consecutive months of employment: two weeks’ pay must be provided
  • After 36 consecutive months of employment: three weeks’ pay must be provided
  • For each additional year: a week’s pay (up to a maximum of eight weeks) must be provided

Note that “consecutive” months of employment may include combined periods after temporary breaks in service, in some circumstances.

When is pay not required with termination without cause?

Pay is not required with termination without cause when reasonable notice is provided.

The statutory requirements for notice are as follows:

  • After three consecutive months of employment: one week’s pay must be provided
  • After 12 consecutive months of employment: two weeks’ pay must be provided
  • After 36 consecutive months of employment: three weeks’ pay must be provided
  • For each additional year: a week’s pay (up to a maximum of eight weeks) must be provided

According to common law, reasonable notice is based on the following:

  • Length of service
  • Age of employee
  • Type of position (salary, supervisory responsibilities, etc.)
  • Availability of similar employment at the time of termination

Under these guidelines, reasonable notice might amount to at least one month per year of service but it may also be specified in the original employment contract you signed when you joined the company.

Your contract may require less notice of termination than common law requirements – but not less than the entitlements listed under the BC Employment Standards Act.

Providing these requirements are met, no payment is necessary in termination without cause cases.

Neither pay nor notice is required if you are terminated without cause in the following circumstances:

  • You have worked for less than three consecutive months
  • You worked on-call, were hired temporarily or hired to perform specific work in 12 months or less
  • You quit or retire
  • Your employment contract ended
  • An unforeseeable event makes it impossible for the planned work to be performed (this does not include bankruptcy, receivership, or insolvency)
  • You refuse to accept reasonable alternative employment
  • You are terminated for just cause (e.g., breach of contract)

Have you been terminated without cause in Vancouver?

The reasonable notice and compensation laws governing termination are clear and all employers should understand them.

However, surprisingly often, the laws are breached and unfair dismissal cases result.

If you have been terminated without cause by an employer and have not received any or enough reasonable notice or pay, you may be entitled to compensation.

We can negotiate with your employer or threaten to take legal action if you are not paid what you are legally entitled to.

In many cases, we can negotiate far better packages than if you attempt to follow up with your employer alone. 

If you go to court and win the case, the courts often award well beyond the minimum requirements in the BC Employment Standards Act.

Arrange an initial 30-minute phone or Skype conversation with a lawyer at Taylor Janis employment lawyers and we will help determine the strength of your case. Call us now to book a time: 604-423-2646.