Employment Law Glossary (9:App A)
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 26, 2020.|
- In the context of wrongful dismissal: damages awarded as compensation for an employee’s reasonably foreseeable loss or harm that occurred due to the manner of their dismissal; generally awarded as compensation for psychological harm caused by the manner in which the employee was terminated from their employment.
- If an employer dismisses a person in a harsh or vindictive manner, for example by purposely humiliating the employee or by taking some other action that might mentally harm the employee, they may have dismissed the employee in a bad faith manner, and the employee may be entitled to aggravated damages.
- A unilateral change by an employer to a fundamental term of an employee’s contract (such as pay or job duties). The change must not be condoned, and must be significant. The employee might claim this change is a constructive dismissal (or equivalent to a dismissal because of the significance of the change), even though there has been no express act of dismissal on the part of the employer.
- An agreement between persons which obliges each party to do or not do certain things.
- An employer's decision to terminate a contract of employment.
Employment at Will
- An employment contract during which the employer may terminate the employment at any time. This is an American concept, as this type of employment does not legally exist in BC (or anywhere in Canada): if the employment contract purports to allow the employer to terminate the employee without notice, it is invalid and the employee may be able to obtain a severance award.
- Misconduct by an employee, or some other event relevant to the employee, which justifies the immediate termination of the employment contract. Note that this phrase has a different meaning in the context of Employment Insurance.
Mitigation of Damages
- The obligation upon a person who sues another for damages, to minimize - or mitigate - those damages, as far as reasonable.
- A contract or a clause in a contract in which an employee agrees not to compete against their employer. These are often found to be invalid in court, particularly if a non-solicitation agreement would have sufficed to protect the employer’s interests.
- A contract or a clause in a contract in which an employee agrees not to solicit customers of the employer.
- Employers must give an employee reasonable notice that their employment is to be terminated without cause, or payment of their usual salary and benefits in lieu of notice. The length of time that constitutes reasonable notice varies based on the employee’s age, length of service to the employer, and employment responsibilities, and the availability of alternate employment. The reasonable notice period can be up to approximately two years.
- A contract in which a party agrees to be restricted in some regards as to future conduct. There are two common types: non-competition agreements and non-solicitation agreements.
- An amount of money an employer owes to an employee in lieu of notice of the employee’s termination.
- Time off from work, paid or unpaid, on account of an employee's temporary inability to perform duties because of sickness or disability.
- A defined group of employees formed for the purposes of representing those employees with the employer as to the terms of a collective contract of employment.
- A public benefit scheme in which qualified workers who are injured in the workplace, receive compensation, commensurate with their degree of injury, regardless of who was at fault.
- The failure to provide reasonable notice of the termination of an employment contract. Wrongful dismissal is a term that can apply to cases when an employer doesn’t provide enough notice or severance in the case of a without cause dismissal, or when an employer fires an employee without any notice or severance in the case of a just cause termination.
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