5. Ontario Law and Termination of Employment

Employees should be aware of how the process of employment termination works in Ontario. This video provides an overview of feedback in the workplace and termination of employment in Ontario. The text below summarizes what is discussed in the video.

To read along, click here.

Feedback and Progressive Discipline

An employer is required to provide you with feedback about your work, especially if there is something that needs to be improved. Progressive discipline is a term that refers to the ongoing warnings that an employer may issue to an employee about their job performance. For instance, it may start with a verbal warning, followed by a series of written warning if there continue to be performance issues.

As an employee, it is important that you respond to verbal or written feedback and evaluation. Listen carefully and understand the feedback and do not ignore feedback or verbal warnings. It is important to demonstrate that you are making clear efforts to improve your work if needed. For instance, communicate and clarify with your supervisor or manager, ask for required training, and pursue available learning opportunities. This provides evidence that you are willing to improve and learn, and that you are committed to the job.

Termination of Employment

An employment relationship can end for a number of different reasons. For instance, an employee may resign or retire, or an employer may decide to terminate an employee. An employer may terminate an employee if they provide reasonable notice (with pay) or if they have evidence of wrongdoing by the employee, sometimes referred to as “just cause”.

It is important to note that the Ontario Human Rights Code also applies to the termination process. An employee cannot legally be terminated based on any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination set out by the Code.

Termination for Just Cause

Termination for just cause refers to a situation where an employer terminates an employee without notice when there is evidence of wrongdoing. For instance, this may be in the case of serious misconduct or habitual neglect of duty. Typically, these cases are complex, and may require the employer to demonstrate evidence that the employee was made aware of the issue, for instance notified in writing or through performance evaluations.

Termination with Reasonable Notice

In many cases of termination, employers will provide reasonable notice of termination. This means that notice of termination is provided to the employee and compensation is paid to the employee based on a number of criteria including: how long the employee has worked for the employer, the employees age, the type of job, the salary, and the current job market conditions. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website: Termination of Employment and Termination and Severance.

Termination—whether for just cause or when given reasonable notice—is another situation in which getting legal advice can be a wise decision.

It is important to note that there are many other factors impacting the rules and processes around termination of employment. For instance, in the case of unionized employees, or employees covered under a collective agreement, the circumstances for termination of employment are different.

Knowledge Check: Termination of Employment

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