I was dismissed (fired) unfairly. What can I do?

Last reviewed June 2024 by the Clicklaw editors

If you’ve been fired — or dismissed from your job — you may be wondering about your rights. Can your employer fire you? Were you entitled to notice that you were going to be dismissed? Can you get severance pay?

Employers have the right to fire employees for “just cause,” meaning there was a good reason to fire you. But if you were fired without just cause, you have the right to advance notice, or severance pay if you don’t get notice. If the employer doesn’t give you notice or pay, it’s called a wrongful dismissal.

Helpful resources

  • If You Are Fired (People’s Law School): This fact sheet describes your options if you think you’ve been wrongfully dismissed or fired. It explains what just cause is.
  • Quitting, Getting Fired or Laid Off (Government of BC): This describes the rules that must be followed for layoffs. It explains how a dismissed employee’s notice or compensation is calculated.
  • Making a Complaint (Government of BC): This outlines the process for filing a complaint about an employer with the BC Employment Standards Branch.
  • Small Claims Solution Explorer (Civil Resolution Tribunal): This is a tool for helping people manage and resolve disputes in BC. Select “Employment,” and explore your options through information and self-help tools.
  • LSLAP Manual: Employment Law (PDF) (Law Students’ Legal Advice Program): The manual has a section on termination of employment.

Helpful services

  • Contact the Employment Standards Branch of BC. (Government of BC): Find answers to general questions or ask about specific situations if your employer is provincially regulated.
  • Contact the Labour Program (Government of Canada): Find answers to questions about employment standards if your employer is federally regulated.
  • Summary Advice Program (Access Pro Bono): This service offers free legal advice to low- and modest-income individuals by telephone or videoconference. Book an appointment with a volunteer lawyer by filling out the online form or calling the client line.
  • Find a Service Canada Office (Government of Canada): This helps you find a location near you to help with employment insurance.
  • Lawyer Referral Service (Access Pro Bono): This service offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at a rate you both agree to.
  • Find more services.