Labor law can be inscrutable, but for employees who’ve been fired without cause, it can be the only recourse. Most countries recognize several categories of unjust dismissal, and there are laws that protect employees from some of these forms of termination. A Canada employment lawyer can be consulted if you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed from your company. One category is wrongful dismissal, which describes situations where employees are fired due to discrimination or retaliation.
Another category is constructive dismissal—in these situations, the employee is forced to resign due to an actively hostile work environment. A third category is unfair dismissals. In these situations, an employee is fired without adequate reason, or the mode of termination runs afoul of the country’s labor laws. Ahead, learn more about this type of termination via five examples of unfair dismissals.
Example 1: Service Industry and Unfounded Accusations
The service industry often churns through workers at a fast pace, and this can create an atmosphere where unfair dismissals run rampant. Here is one example:
A barista goes to check the cash register at the end of the shift. The register is $30 short, and the barista informs the manager of the discrepancy. Without evidence, the manager accuses the barista of stealing. Though the barista claims she’s innocent, she’s fired all the same. This is an example of a potentially unfair dismissal, especially if the barista can provide evidence that she didn’t steal. Maybe the café had a security camera, or perhaps the discrepancy was due to a discount that wasn’t recorded in the books.
Example 2: Tech Industry Employee Swap
Unfair dismissals don’t just happen in the service industry. Take the following example:
A successful tech company hires an experienced candidate to run their PR department. The new PR manager produces excellent work, and the company gives him no reason to doubt his place in the company. One day, however, the CEO meets someone with interesting PR skills at a tech convention. They want to hire this new candidate as PR manager, and decide to simply fire the current manager. In certain countries, this would qualify as unfair dismissal.
Example 3: Restructuring Demotions
Sometimes, unfair dismissals are a result of company-wide changes that leave certain employees in the dust. Consider:
A part-time employee for an in-home respite care provider receives an unexpected promotion when the company decides to expand their services. While she formerly worked as a care worker, she’s made the manager of the new Parkinson’s unit because of her experience and qualifications. She performs her job admirably for a year. After another company-wide restructuring, however, the Parkinson’s unit is condensed into the broader dementia unit. The company gives her two options: return to her part-time work, or quit.
Example 4: Denial of Benefits
In some scenarios, a denial of benefits can lead to unfair dismissal. Take this example:
In Australia, all workers are entitled to public holidays and annual leave. An Australian man applies for a part-time government job via a grant program, and for the first six months, his wages are paid for by this special grant. After this period, he receives confirmation that his part-time job is permanent, and that his wages will now be paid by his employer. He should be eligible for the standard benefits afforded to all workers, like holidays and leave, but his employer refuses. If this conflict leads to his dismissal, it might be legally unjustifiable.
Example 5: Working Time Violations
Many countries have specific laws in place regarding working time, ranging from the number of hours an employer can legally ask employees to work per week to mandatory rest breaks. For example:
A factory employee is legally entitled to a set number of breaks each shift. Their employer only allows them to take 75% of their allotted breaks. When the employee files a complaint, they’re fired. In certain countries, like the UK, this form of dismissal would likely be illegal.