What Is a Dismissal?

A dismissal is the definitive termination of an employee’s employment relationship with their employer for economic, organizational or technical reasons.

What is the difference between dismissal and termination?

Dismissal means the definitive end of an employee’s contract with an employer. An employee may be dismissed for:

  • Economic (financial difficulties, for example)
  • Organizational (company restructuring, for example)
  • Technical (technological innovation, for example)

Unlike dismissal, termination occurs when an employer terminates an employment relationship for reasons specific to the employee’s behavior or competencies.

Whether it’s dismissal or termination, the employee must receive notice of termination from their employer within the statutory time frame.

What Is the Difference Between Dismissal and Layoff?

Dismissal refers to the definitive termination of an employment contract for economic, organizational or technical reasons. Layoff refers to the temporary suspension of an employment contract.

What Are the Different Types of Dismissal?

There are several types of dismissal, such as dismissal for economic, or employee-related reasons, or without fault.

Dismissal for economic reasons must be based on a real and serious cause that is independent from the employee (company reorganization, work stoppage).

Dismissal for employee-related reasons has to be based on a real and serious cause linked to the employee:

  • General misconduct: repeated absences, repeated simple technical errors.
  • Gross misconduct: non-compliance with employment contract obligations or actions intended to intentionally harm the employer.

No fault dismissal

  • For unfitness: insufficient results.
  • For illness: the employee is unable to work.
  • For work accident.
  • For professional incompetence.

How to Dismiss an Employee?

In order to dismiss an employee, employers must ensure they comply with all applicable laws. Generally, employers are required to have tried to help the employee improve before proceeding with dismissal (unless there has been gross misconduct).

In Canada, employers are obliged to provide a written notice of termination, and to offer a notice period based on the employee’s seniority.

Beyond legal concerns, managers must also consider the human factor. For example, it is preferable to terminate an employee in a private setting. It’s also a good idea for managers to take the time to discuss the matter with the rest of the team, to inform them of the decision and reassure them if necessary.

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