With the exception of “just cause,” or an unlawful termination of the employment relationship, an employer must provide adequate notice of termination to an employee, or alternatively provide payment to the employee in lieu of notice. The employee would be wrongfully dismissed where the employer lacked just cause to terminate the employee and did not provide sufficient notice or payment in lieu of notice.
At common law, there are numerous factors that are considered in determining the appropriate length of the notice period in the exercise of calculating the compensation that a dismissed employee is entitled to. Since the 1960 decision of Bardal v Globe & Mail, courts have focussed on factors that include the length of a worker’s service, the age of the worker at termination, the character of the job they have lost, and availability of similar employment. In the midst of mass terminations and layoffs in this COVID19 pandemic era, the economic instability occasioned by this crisis will certainly impact how each of the factors in assessing the length of appropriate notice will be weighed and applied.