A person’s rights as an employee are a combination of what your contract or employment agreement states, and what the law sets out. When an employer is in violation of either those, it impacts how the other is applied. Though that may sound confusing, here’s an example: the case of an Ontario man who was the victim of wrongful termination.
A 49-year old man was let go from his position with a software company earlier this year. He had been employed there for 14 years, and was let go without just cause. When an acceptable termination package could not be negotiated, he sued his former employer.
The judge determined the man should have been given 17 months notice of his termination. He was awarded a payout equal to the salary and benefits he would have received during that time. He did not, however, award him a nearly $60,000 bonus because his contract stated the bonus was only for “actively employed” employees of the company.
The man appealed the decision, and in August 2016, the decision was reversed by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In the court’s decision, it was determined that he would have been actively employed at the time of the bonus payout had he been given proper notice of his termination. For that reason, he was entitled to everything that would have been due him during those 17 months.
Losing one’s job is rarely an enjoyable experience. To lose it without any obvious reason can be both confusing and alarming. Any man or woman who feels they have been subject to wrongful termination should seek legal counsel. There may still be something to fight for.
Source: Toronto Sun, “Let go? What happens to your bonus?”, Alan Shanhoff, Oct.12, 2016