Lay Off Lawyers for Employees
Sometimes, people believe a “lay off” is an expression for downsizing, or losing a job or being terminated without cause. However, a “lay off” is actually a legal term meaning a temporary stoppage of work. If you have been let go (not laid off), you have probably been wrongfully dismissed, and thats the correct term you were looking for.
What is Lay Off?
It is only a temporary “layoff” if an employer gives less than half the amount of ordinary work in a work week to an employee for less than 13 weeks in the last 20 weeks, or 35 in certain circumstances. In this case, an employee cannot yet consider themselves terminated and seek termination pay or severance or sue for wrongful dismissal.
However, if an employer hasn’t given an employee any work (or less than half of a usual work week) for over 13 weeks, the employee has been terminated and must be provided notice or termination pay in lieu. If the termination pay provided is inadequate, then the employee should sue for wrongful dismissal.
Note however, that in most employment contracts, lay offs are not permitted, and any pay less than a usual work week, even just once, could be considered a “constructive dismissal“. In other words, absent a clause in the employment contract permitting a layoff, an employee can treat a temporary layoff as a termination, and seek termination pay in lieu of notice.