Remedies  (Compensation) under Employment Law

Generally, employees can demand money or sue their employer for three kinds of remedies under employment law: (1) Wrongful Dismissal Damages, (2) Extraordinary Damages, and (3) Human Rights Damages. Also, in rare, circumstances, some employees can claim reinstatement.

The first kind of damages (Wrongful Dismissal Damages) are also known as  “notice”, “pay in lieu of notice” or “severance”, but they are all the thing, essentially: “earnings”.  The second and third kind of damages are known collectively as “general damages”, which are not earnings.

Wrongful Dismissal Damages

First, it is well known that employers must provide reasonable notice to employees upon termination. If not, it is a wrongful dismissal and the employee should sue or demand compensation in lieu of reasonable notice. This kind of compensation is known as “damages for wrongful dismissal” and it is by far the most common remedy claimed in employment lawsuits. The monies available to wrongfully dismissed employees include termination pay, severance, past and future commission, bonus and funds to compensate for the loss of benefits, pension and equity.

Extraordinary Employment Law Damages

Second, in less frequent employment lawsuits, some employees could be entitled to piggyback compensation for extraordinary damages related to the way their employment was terminated, including:

  1. Damages for bad faith in the course of termination (also known as aggravated damages, Honda damages, or Wallace damages);
  2. Punitive damages;
  3. Damages for intentional/negligent infliction of mental distress;
  4. Damages for defamation;
  5. Damages for breach of privacy;
  6. Damages for inducing breach of contract;
  7. Damages for malicious prosecution;
  8. Inconvenience damages;
  9. Damages for personal injury (i.e. negligence, assault or sexual assault); and
  10. Damages for unlawful interference with economic relations.

Human Rights in the Workplace Damages

Third, in some employment lawsuits, employees could be entitled to piggyback a claim for damages for breach of human rights. In these kinds of cases, Ontario courts or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario can order an employer to compensate an employee if the employee suffered:

  1. discrimination in the workplace by the employer or employee of the employer because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability; and
  2. harassment in the workplace by the employer or employee of the employer because of sex, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability

All of these remedies can add up quite lucratively for the employee. For example, Canadian courts have awarded 26 months’ notice to employees, $200,000 for extraordinary damages; and $420,000 for human rights damages. Therefore, it is imperative to contact an employment lawyer for advice in relation to employment law remedies.

Other Remedy: Reinstatement

Federally regulated employees can claim Unjust Dismissal, seeking reinstatement to their position if the arbitrator finds it appropriate.

In addition, a provincial or federal human rights tribunal may reinstate an employee if there is a breach of the employee’s human rights and it is reasonable to do so.

Furthermore, an Ontario employee who is unlawfully terminated from work after taking a valid leave of absence can be reinstated to his or her position by the Ministry of Labour.


Dutton Employment Law is an employment and labour law group. We help clients negotiate, sue for and defend wrongful dismissal damages, extraordinary and punitive damages, and human rights damages. Contact us today for more information.