Termination of Federally Regulated Employees Without Cause

Most non-unionized employees can be dismissed without cause with appropriate notice or pay in lieu. The amount of notice is stipulated in employment standards legislation and is supplemented in most cases by common law.

It was thought until recently that federally regulated employees could not be dismissed without cause – i.e. just because the employer wanted them gone.

A recent case in the Federal Court of Appeal (which is under appeal) has cast doubt on whether federally regulated non-union employees have any additional protection.

In the case, an employee of Atomic Energy of Canada sought damages related to his loss of employment and potential reinstatement for what he thought was an unjust dismissal. His case was ultimately refused and he was held to be entitled to only the very minimal severance pay provided for in the Canada Labour Code.

This outcome might be overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada if it decides to hear the appeal.

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