Mar 6, 2014

Leaving Your Job: The Dos and Don’ts of Resigning.

Are you considering resigning?  Do you know how much notice to give your employer? Do you know that your employer could sue you for failing to give enough notice?

Reasonable Notice of Resignation

Most employees believe that there is a legal requirement to give an employer two weeks’ notice when ending the employment relationship. However, the Employment Standards Act does not require employees in Ontario to provide notice of resignation to their employers, in nearly all situations.

Employees should keep in mind that the common law does require employees to give “reasonable notice of resignation.”

The courts determine what a reasonable amount of time would be, by considering several questions:

  • Does the employee have an employment contract which sets out how much notice the employee should give when resigning?
  • Is the employee’s position specialized?
  • Would the employer be left in a vulnerable position if the employee did not provide enough notice?
  • How long would it reasonably take the employer to hire a suitable replacement?

Check your employment contract to see of you have agreed to provide a specific amount of notice when resigning.

Wrongful Resignation

An employer can sue an employee for “wrongful resignation” if the employer sustains damages (costs and expenses) because the employee did not give enough notice of termination.  It is unusual for employer to sue an employee for wrongful resignation. The damages that could be awarded to an employer for wrongful resignation by an employee depend on the actual costs that the employer sustains, which can vary from case to case.

Typically, a wrongful resignation claim is made along with a claim that the employee breached a non-solicitation or non-competition clause. For more information on these clauses obligations, see our other blogs.

If you are thinking about resigning and would like to speak with a lawyer about your obligations to give reasonable notice, or your non-compete and non-solicitation obligations, contact us at [email protected] or 647-633-9894.


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