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Can I be fired without any notice?

Can I be fired without any notice?
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Reviewed: 
March 30, 2018
Answer

Yes, in some situations, like the ones below.

Temporary layoff

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) says you can be laid off without getting any notice of termination if the layoff is temporary. For example, your employer might not have enough work for you during a slow period.

But the ESA rules apply only if you have agreed that your employer can put you on temporary layoff. And if you're in a union, the rules will depend on what's in the collective agreement.

The ESA rules about temporary layoffs are complicated. There are rules about how long a temporary layoff can be. The general rule is that a temporary layoff can be up to 13 weeks out of 20 weeks in a row.

In some situations, it can be longer than that. But it has to be less than 35 weeks out of 52 weeks in a row. For example, this applies if your employer continues to pay into a pension plan for you.

If you get laid off but you never agreed that your employer could put you on temporary layoff, it's the same as what the law calls a constructive dismissal. Your right to termination pay is the same as if you were fired.

If you're laid off, you might need to get legal advice about whether your employer has the right to put you on temporary layoff. And if you're in a union, you'll want to talk to your union representative.

If you're not in a union and the ESA does not cover your situation, check What laws apply to me as a worker?

If you're fired for "cause"

Your employer may say they're firing you because of something you did or didn't do. They may say they have "cause" or a good reason to fire you without giving you any notice.

If this happens, try to get legal advice. Sometimes employers are wrong about what is a good reason under the law to fire someone without notice.

Here are some examples of when an employer might have the right to fire you without giving you any notice:

  • you stole from your employer
  • you damaged your employer's property on purpose
  • you threatened or assaulted someone at work
  • you refuse to do something that's an important part of your job, unless you have a good reason, like refusing to do work that is unsafe

Even if you did something wrong, your employer might not have the right to fire you without notice.

For example, it can help you if:

  • what you did was not very serious
  • your employer didn't give you a chance to correct your behaviour
  • you've worked for your employer for a long time

It's important to get legal advice if you think your employer was wrong to fire you without notice.

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