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I was just fired, what should I do?

Fired. Terminated. Released. Made redundant. Let go. Whatever your former boss or HR representative wants to call it, you’ve lost your job. It’s normal to feel shock, frustration, and worry about the future. Take a deep breath. Don’t feel pressured to sign or agree to anything from your former employer. If you need to spend a day or two in sweatpants processing what happened, that’s okay. When you are ready, call an experienced lawyer to find out exactly what your rights are. Worried you won’t be able to afford an employment lawyer? At Litco Law, we always provide free consultations and we never bill by the hour. And if you do choose to file an employment claim through us, we don’t get paid until you get paid.

Know Your Rights

If you’ve recently lost your job, an employment lawyer will be able to provide a clear picture of what your options are and help you decide what to do next. Our first priority here at Litco Law is to help you to understand your rights. In Alberta, your employer must follow the rules of the Employment Standards Code and Alberta Human Rights Act. This means that unless your former employer has just cause to fire you on the spot, they have to provide reasonable notice and follow Alberta’s employment laws and severance policies.

Be wary of signing anything that takes your rights away from you.

  • DON’T sign anything right away. Your former employer may try to pressure you into signing non-compete or non-disclosure agreements, or a ‘release’ that is disguised as a severance offer which they threaten to revoke unless you sign immediately.
  • DO tell your employer that you would like to take some time to review the document and have it looked over by a lawyer before you sign.
  • DO consult an experienced employment lawyer before you accept a settlement offer or sign any documents from your former employer. An experienced lawyer will be able to tell you whether the offer is fair.

If you have already signed a document or release forms from your employer, but you were forced or unaware of what you were signing, you may still be able to make a claim. Contact us [link] as soon as possible to find out.

There’s a good chance you are entitled to MORE than the legal minimums.
Alberta’s employment laws are there to help protect you from being hung out to dry, so to speak. According to the Employment Standards Code, if you were employed for more than 90 days, your employer must give you a notice of termination or pay in lieu of the time you would have worked. Depending on how long you’ve been employed with the company, this could range anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks. Most employers will choose to pay you the money you would have earned while working during the notice period. This is what most people think of as “termination pay.” You may also be entitled to additional compensation, typically known as “severance.”

In most cases, statutory minimums do NOT reflect the full amount of money you are eligible to receive. You may be entitled to several thousands of dollars MORE through Alberta’s case law considers factors such as:

  • Your age;
  • Your title or role;
  • The reason for your termination;
  • The length of time you were employed;
  • The manner in which you were let go;
  • The nature of your work (i.e. Is it a specialized field?); and,
  • The employment market.

The amount of severance pay you are entitled to will also depend on the benefits received from your former employer. This includes things like yearly bonuses, incentive programs, profit sharing, commissions, and any other benefits which were part of your employment agreement.

In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of being fired to make a claim in court, or your right to do so is lost forever. It’s important not to wait, as there may be other important deadlines or circumstances that may affect the deadline of your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary Employment Lawyers today.  

Note: If you were part of a labour union and you feel that you were dismissed unfairly, you will need to contact your union representative directly.

Looking for answers about Employment Law in Alberta?

Whether you were wrongfully fired, temporarily laid off, or received a constructive dismissal, we can help. Unsure if you received a fair severance package or if you should sign a release from your employer? We can help there, too. Litco Law has served Alberta since 1976, providing legal representation for thousands of Albertans in Calgary, Edmonton, and across the province. Our Alberta Employment Lawyers will explain the laws in a way that’s easy to understand. At Litco Law, you get a caring team who will always put your needs first. Have questions? Give us a call or email today, or send us a message in the chat. We’re here for you, no matter what.

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