Terminations can be risky terrain for even the most experienced HR professional. In a recent Alberta decision1, an employer suggested that 18 months’ notice would be reasonable for an employee with 25 years of service. The judge in the case awarded the ex-employee 24 months.When an employer decides to terminate an employee, they face a situation rife with risk and uncertainty. While statutory minimum entitlements are prescribed by legislation, determining reasonable notice is a substantial challenge. When is an employee entitled to reasonable notice? Who determines what is a “reasonable” notice period, and what factors influence reasonable notice?The risks of getting it wrong can be significant. If an employee is dismissed without cause and given insufficient reasonable notice, the employer may be vulnerable to potentially contentious litigation in addition to potentially being liable for a longer length of reasonable notice under common law. These risks exist in most, if not all, termination situations. In addition, during these uncertain times where jobs are difficult to find, the risks associated with terminating an employee can be even more difficult to navigate.This white paper will provide readers with a better understanding of the factors which influence reasonable notice so that employers can more accurately assess their risks and reduce costs down the road. This white paper will pair an explanation of the legal issues involved with terminations with insights from Blue J Legal’s data collected from nearly 1800 past court decisions.
1 Jones v. Temple Real Estate Investment Trust, 2018 ABQB 606
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