Do I need an employment lawyer?

Employers need to be aware that employment law, and the courts, are disproportionately in favour of employees. This is a fact, not a criticism. Employees are vulnerable to the bargaining power and sophistication of employers, and therefore the law is structured to make the employment relationship more balanced, at the cost of the employer. Accordingly, employers should consult an employment lawyer before setting proactive policy, taking action against an employee and defending against employee action in all matters that touch on the legal rights of employees. Otherwise, employers without sound legal advice could make a mistake that could cost them significant funds.

Our Employment Law Services for Employers

Importantly, your business should consult an employment lawyer anytime it is put on notice of a potential employment related lawsuit, of any kind. Make no mistake, some employee allegations are frivolous, but others, considering the generosity of employee rights in Ontario, require professional advice and the careful consideration of whether a settlement or a vigorous defence is appropriate in the circumstances.

Otherwise, your business should consult an employment lawyer in the following circumstances:

Terminations

  • Termination / severance packages for employees, including the calculation of reasonable notice
  • Mass termination, transfer, sale or closure of a business
  • Allegations and implications for just cause dismissals
  • Termination of employees with disabilities without breaking the law
  • Temporary lay offs
  • Tax implications
  • Release of liability

Discipline

  • Performance Improve Plans (PIPs)
  • Escalating discipline procedures, including the building of a case for just cause dismissal
  • Suspensions
  • Demotions
  • Response to complaints from employees and third parties about specific employees
  • Enforcement of safety policies through discipline

Policy

  • Health and safety policies
  • Workplace violence policies
  • Sexual harrassment policies
  • Disability accommodation policies
  • Anti-discrimination policies
  • Social media policies
  • Non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality (trade secrets) policies.
  • Employee handbooks, including general employee conduct and expectations

Hiring

  • Employment contracts
  • Independent and dependent contractor classifications
  • Termination clauses to limit the amount of termination pay in lieu of notice to pay a terminated employee
  • Restrictive covenants, including non-solicitation, non-competition and confidentiality (trade secret) protection
  • Incentive awards (equity granting, RSUs, stock options, etc.)
  • Benefits
  • Executive compensation
  • Discrimination concerns in the hiring process

Human Rights

  • Preparation for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”)
  • Response to disability accommodation requests
  • Response to employee allegations of discrimination
  • Response to employee allegations of harassment
  • Request of medical information
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Application for a summary hearing for frivilous claims

Employment Standards

  • Classification of managers and supervisors
  • Hours of work and eating periods
  • Overtime pay
  • Public holidays
  • Vacation with pay
  • Pregnancy and parental leave
  • Family medical leave
  • Emergency leave

Workplace Investigations

  • Toxic work environment
  • Bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Allegations of cause
  • Inappropriate employee behaviour
  • Theft
  • Insurance fraud
  • Whistleblowers
  • Breach of restrictive covenants

Litigation

  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Wrongful resignation
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Human Rights
  • injunctions to enforce non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality (trade secrets)
  • Libel and defamation
  • Theft recovery
  • Breach of commercial agreements (i.e. lawsuits initiated by or against contracted workers)

Occupational Health and Safety

  • Compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) or the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”)
  • Health and safety policies and training
  • Reporting under the OHSA or the CLC
  • Ministry of Labour inspections and investigations
  • Post-accident investigations
  • The appeal of orders issued by inspectors or health and safety officers

Union Certification 

  • Union avoidance
  • Referrals to leading labour lawyers to handle the unionized workplace

The cost of a lawyer

If you are hesitant to speak to a lawyer because of the cost, you should be aware that having a professional who specializes in employment law on your side usually means a better outcome, when compared with the results you can expect when you represent yourself. At the same time, you should be aware that not all lawyers are prohibitively expensive. Our law firm, for instance, offers the most value and the most affordable hourly rates in Toronto. In addition, we offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to check whether your issue is worth proceeding with a lawyer.