A wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer does not provide you with enough notice of termination. Most employers do not provide any notice of termination.
In a wrongful dismissal action, you can claim damages against your former employer equal to the value of the pay and benefits you would have earned during the applicable notice period.
During this notice period, you have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to look for a new job. This is called your “duty to mitigate”.
In addition to looking for a new job it is important to keep a record of your job search efforts, particularly if you are planning to sue your employer for wrongful dismissal. You should update your resume (if it has been a long time since you last had to search for a job, consider attending a seminar on resume writing, or consulting with a career counselor). Once you begin searching for work, you should keep a job search journal in which you record all the applications you made, the responses you received, any follow-up actions you took and all the things you did when looking for a new job (such as visiting a career counselor or attending a seminar on resume writing). You should also keep a copy of all the applications you made. It is important to keep a record as you will have to show a judge that you tried to find a new job. Otherwise, a judge may refuse to order any damages because you failed to mitigate your damages.
A Cautionary Tale
In Plotogea v Heartland Appliances Inc., the judge concluded Mr. Plotogea had been wrongfully dismissed and that he was entitled to nine months’ notice of termination. However, the judge noted that Mr. Plotogea’s efforts to find alternate employment were inadequate and only ordered the employer to pay him two months’ damages.
In coming to this conclusion, the judge noted Mr. Plotogea submitted a list of 125 companies which he stated he visited. However, he did not provide any details for his visits, such as dates or the names of people with whom he spoke at these companies. He stated that he simply dropped his resume off at the front counter, and he did not follow up with any of these companies. He claimed he was not provided with an application form to fill out at any of these companies, and that he was unable to find any advertised positions on his own. The judge commented that even if he did attend at all these businesses and dropped off his resume, he was not surprised that there was little response from the companies as his CV was amateurish.
This case illustrates why it is important to keep a record of everything you do in connection with finding a new job after your termination. If you have been recently terminated, you should consult a lawyer to make sure you abide by any other obligations you may have after your dismissal.
If you have any questions about your legal rights in the workplace, one of our lawyers would be happy to meet with you. Please call 647-204-8107 or email [email protected].
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