In the 1999 case of Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) the Supreme Court of Canada in decisive words stated that employees “over age 45” deserve special compensation in terms of notice period because of how difficult it is for them to retrain and get a new job.
Therefore while older workers who are terminated are in a bad situation at least they have the Supreme Court saying that this situation should be taken into account.
The group that has been failed by the courts thus far, however, is young workers.
Many people, especially those of the baby boom generation, believe that there are a huge amount of employment opportunities for youth. In fact every week I run into lawyers arguing that my clients should not receive any notice period at all, merely because they are in their 20’s and therefore should be able to “walk into another job”.
The statistics show that this is ridiculous. Below is the data from Statistics Canada:
Termination/Lay-offs and Young Worker Unemployment
As statistics show, young workers do not recover easily from termination and cutbacks. In fact, they respond worse. They are out of the job market for longer and it hurts their long-term career planning more.
Many 20-somethings are forced to respond to a termination by switching career paths, taking part-time work, or going back for even more qualifications.
A Call For Judicial Recognition of Youth Unemployment
Considering the dire job situation for youth it is irresponsible to continue to have no recognition of demographic unemployment trends within employment law.
Although judges tend to be from an older generation, and likely had relatively steady jobs throughout their 20’s themselves (or else it would be unlikely for them to be judges) it is only logical and fair that notice periods should reflect the actual realities on the ground regarding re-employment and the courts should take these factors into account.
As someone who fights often for youth workers, it would be a long-awaited, and refreshing, recognition. If you, or someone you know, need assistance fighting a wrongful dismissal, make sure to contact Andrew Monkhouse today.
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