The Truth about Voluntary Departures: Quit, Resign, Retire

Neufeld Legal P.C. can be reached by telephone at 403-400-4092 / 905-616-8864 or email Chris@NeufeldLegal.com


What is the shocking truth about voluntarily leaving your job in Canada? The truth is that almost no one has seriously looked into the legal aspects associated with quitting/resigning one’s job, in particular as it relates to how much money many Canadian employees are owed, in particular employees characterized by one or more of the following traits: (i) long-term employment, (ii) salaried employment, and (iii) employed in Alberta.

Yes, you heard me right. Money is all too frequently owed to Canadian employees who voluntarily leave their job and the amounts owing can be quite significant. And to be clear, what I am not talking about are those infrequent situations involving improper actions that effectively caused an end to the employment relationship, such as the employer’s unilateral change to the employee’s job, discrimination or harassment in the workplace, etc. Those workplace scenarios, commonly referred to as constructive dismissal, provide for an added dimension to the money owed to those departing employees, and tend to be the few scenarios that most other lawyers will consider pursuing.

Instead, we are looking at those Canadian employees who have been working for a number of years for the same employer, and they make the decision to quit their job and it has nothing to do with changes to their job, discrimination, or harassment. What we are looking at are employees who are tired or frustrated with their current job, looking for another opportunity or already have another job lined up. That is who we are talking to, for even though this is applicable to employees that have been constructively dismissed, we are not reliant upon the existence of the legal elements of constructive dismissal to make our case.

We instead are looking at a larger, overlooked group of employees who are simply quitting or resigning their employment, who have been led to believe that they are owed nothing and should not expect anything from their former employer. One need only perform a search of the Internet to see the very limited discussion for employees quitting their job, which beyond the aspect of constructive dismissal, looks at notice obligations to one’s employer, the impact of quitting on EI – employment insurance benefit payments, and non-legal suggestions when quitting one’s job. This is generic information, which truthfully is incomplete at best, because it does not factor in some very important legal considerations available to many Canadian employees, who are quitting their job.

And this is the entire crux of the situation for quitting employees, that there is virtually nothing out there about the legal rights of quitting employees, beyond the previously referenced aspect of constructive dismissal, which is restricted to a very small number of quitting employees. So, for the vast majority of quitting employees, there is nothing about legal rights and what those departing employees might be legally entitled to.

Now, most people would not question this, believing that they are not entitled to anything from their employer when they quit their job and there are no extenuating circumstances. How many Canadians who are looking to quit their job for personal reasons, frustration or to take on another job, actually speak with a lawyer to find out what they are owed from their employer and they engage the lawyer to do some substantive legal work as to what might well be owing. Now, I’m not saying that this has never happened before; however, it hasn’t been publicized and it hasn’t resulted in the changes that would necessarily have arisen had this much overlooked aspect of Canadian employment law had actually been dealt with.

And how might someone know this? Truth be told, there is an enormous wealth of publicly-available information on the Internet that shows how wide-spread the situation is in Canada, and it is truly in plain sight. The problem is that no one would appear to be looking for it and in turn are incapable of reading what is immediately in front of them; otherwise, these aspects would have been properly addressed, which they clearly have not been.

Our approach, however, is not for everyone. When we take on an employment case, we pursue it very aggressively, such that we don't pull our punches with your former employer. As such, for those individuals who simply want to move on, even if it means leaving behind a considerable amount of money, we are probably not the right legal team. For everyone else, especially those who were employed by larger companies (who think they are so strong and powerful to be beyond reproach), that meet our internal criteria for aggressive employment litigation, we have a unique legal approach that you should seriously consider. If this is of interest to yourself, feel free to contact our law firm in strict confidence, by telephone at 403-400-4092 or 905-616-8864, or via email at Chris@NeufeldLegal.com.

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