Is it legal to get fired for no reason?

September 1, 2015

If you think you maybe were wrongfully dismissed, it's essential to find out more about your rights and confirm that your firing was unjust in the eyes of the law. Here's what you should know.

Is it legal to get fired for no reason?

If you think you were let go for no reason, talking to a lawyer to see about your rights is just a part of what you should do.

  • In some instances of wrongful dismissal, your job could possibly be restored to you.
  • There's also a chance you could receive a better severance package.

However, before anything else can happen, it is crucial to confirm that your firing was indeed wrongful according to the law.

Some definitions

Dismissal with just cause
This refers to a permanent termination of the employment relationship at the initiative of the employer, who may cite reasons such as:

  • Unacceptable behaviour, including the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Insufficient productivity
  • Lack of skills or competencies
  • A bad attitude or intentionally disobeying superiors
  • Ignoring a workplace rule or regulation

When a legitimate dismissal occurs, it is understood that it happened because the employer always needs someone competent to do the work. He or she therefore has an obligation to seek a replacement.

Indirect dismissal
An employer might wrongfully terminate employment by citing other circumstances than a dismissal.

  • The situation might be disguised as a layoff, harassment, or pressure to resign.


  • This is where the employee initiates the end of employment.

Permanent layoff
The employment relationship is ended by the employer for economic reasons or internal reasons related to the business.

The employee did nothing wrong; his or her services are just no longer needed. Legitimate reasons for layoff include:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Introduction of new technology that makes the employee redundant
  • Merging of positions or responsibilities
  • Loss of contracts
  • Sale of the company

Temporary layoff
In this case, the employer temporarily suspends employment, usually for lack of business, loss of contracts, or seasonal conditions.

  • A laid-off employee may be recalled to resume duties in the future.

The employer’s obligations

Whether it’s a matter of dismissal, resignation or layoff, the employer must give the employee all amounts owed, such as salary, overtime pay and vacation pay.

  • Severance pay may be called for in certain circumstances of dismissal, and notice of termination of employment should be given within the time prescribed by law.

Three warning signs that you might get fired for no reason

Although these signs are not definitive or exhaustive, it never hurts to be aware of changes occurring in the workplace environment. They could potentially include:

  1. You notice that lately you are being given fewer responsibilities.
  2. You receive an unfairly negative performance evaluation.
  3. Your relationship with your supervisor deteriorates.

Consider calling a lawyer

No one wants to get fired for no reason; jobs are too hard to come by these days.

  • Talk to a lawyer if you think you have a legitimate claim to be reinstated to your former position, or if you intend to file a complaint against your former employer.
  • The lawyer can advise you on the different options available.

Certainly, no employee can be dismissed without valid reasons, as an employer is under obligation to prove there was just cause. A lawyer can help you make sure your case is built on verifiable facts.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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