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Damages for Wrongful Dismissal

Is it worth it to sue for wrongful dismissal? How much can you recover?

A court will compensate you for salary and benefits proved to have been lost during the reasonable notice period, minus any severance pay or notice you actually received. Any money you earned, or should have been earned, will also be deducted.

For instance, if you

  • are entitled to a reasonable notice period of eight months
  • only received eight weeks of notice before being terminated
  • earned money at a new job during the eight months, or could have earned money at a new job

a court would calculate the damages as follows:

          (eight months' salary and benefits)
          - (eight weeks' salary and benefits received)
          - (money earned during the eight month period)
          = damages award.

Courts have awarded damages for the following types of lost benefits:

  • bonuses
  • stock options
  • pension, insurance, medical plans
  • moving expenses
  • vacation pay
  • other benefits which would have been earned if employment had continued

Aside from compensating for lost salary and benefits during the reasonable notice period, courts may, in limited circumstances, compensate a terminated employee for an employer's extreme behaviour. Extreme behaviour includes causing mental distress, defamation or loss of reputation, and assault, to name a few. As well, employees may be compensated for leaving a previous employer at the insistence of the employer who dismissed them.

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This page last updated: September 20, 1999
© copyright 1999 Lawyers-BC.Com Services Ltd.