Employee not working out for your company? It’s easy enough to let them go, but is your employee firing strategy lawfully sound?

It is easy enough to understand what Canadian law dictates where employee termination is concerned. Canadian laws – both legislation and common law – protect employees. Therefore,  it is critical for employers to understand workers’ rights and obligations to avoid missteps and minimize the risk of claims.

Here are a few things to consider.

Experts recommend casting aside a negative approach and taking a more proactive one. Prevention rather than treatment. And that can be done with well thought out, ironclad contracts, policies, and procedures.

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Th biggest mistakes employers make – from mom-and-pop shops to multi-national companies – is to have their new employee sign a contract on their first day of employment.

By then, employers have already gone through some sort of a verbal agreement, dictating terms of their employment. Hence, a subsequent written contract could become unenforceable. In this case, experts suggest that candidates should sign a written contract a week before starting work.

A second mistake employers make is to re-purpose old contracts or ones they’ve found online. The problem is that such contracts are not designed for the unique needs of your company, the employee’s role and job description.  Doing this could jeopardize your company.

Employers should no longer be under the assumption that they can fire someone without paying them a dime, even if it is firing with cause.

Here are some rules to be aware of:

  1. An employer must provide an employee with at least two weeks written notice of their intention to terminate the employment of an employee. In lieu of written notice, the employer must pay two weeks wages at the regular rate to the employee.
  2. An employee who has completed at least 12 consecutive months of continuous employment qualifies for severance pay.
  3. An employer is required to pay severance pay in all circumstances except in certain cases. Read more about the exceptional cases here.
  4. Certain types of lay-off do not constitute a termination of employment. Find out more here.

Guidelines by Employment and Social Development Canada also talk about what employers must include in a termination letter.

It’s crucial for employers to create airtight policies that help protect their rights when it’s time to let go of an employee, so that your employee firing strategy is lawfully sound.