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Discipline and termination

State procedures

Are there state-specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures?

No; however, the common law rule regarding 'just cause' termination requires employers to undertake an investigation and present any allegations to the employee so that he or she can provide an explanation. 

Provincial rules

In unfair labour practice complaints brought by unions for unionized employees involving, among other things, discipline, the employer will be required to prove the action it took does not constitute an unfair labour practice, rather than requiring the employee to try to prove that it does.

At-will or notice

At-will status and/or notice period?

Notice period. Canada is not an at-will jurisdiction. Therefore, on termination without cause, employees must be provided with notice of termination or pay in lieu. This entitlement may be included in a contract. If not, in Alberta, the Employment Standards Code sets a minimum notice entitlement ranging between one and eight weeks depending on length of service. The common law provides a greater right to notice as well.

What restrictions apply to the above?

In an employment contract, the employer and employee can agree to the employee’s entitlements on termination, as long as those entitlements satisfy the minimum requirements under applicable employment standards legislation. 

Final paychecks

Are there state-specific rules on when final paychecks are due after termination?

Under Alberta law, final pay must be provided within three days. Under federal law, final pay must be provided within 30 days.

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