Do I need an employment lawyer?
An employee who has not consulted an employment lawyer can be at a real disadvantage. Employers have all the bargaining power and employees without able legal counsel, where necessary, are vulnerable. Thus, the most practical way to bring balance to the employment relationship is by consulting an employment lawyer of your own when necessary.
You should consult an employment lawyer in several situations where you have a serious concern with your employer and you believe you may need to take legal action. In some cases, an employment lawyer will strategically advise a client not to raise their concerns with their employer because they simply do not have a case, and risk damage to their career, reputation and finances for proceeding. But, in most cases, an employee’s intuition is correct, and an employment lawyer will advise of rights an employee didn’t know they had and recommend proceeding against the employer in some manner.
In any case, if you do not clearly understand your rights or are unsure of the proper action, consult our law firm over the phone for 15 minutes for free. Otherwise, you should always consult a lawyer who specializes in employment laws in the following circumstances:
- If you have been let go, and received a termination / severance package, but are unsure if the termination / severance package is appropriate in the circumstances. In this case, you may only need a one hour consultation with an employment lawyer. After all, some termination / severance packages are acceptable.
- If you have been let go, but did not receive a termination / severance package.
- If you have been let go, but are suspicious the decision to let you go was based on a discriminatory reason (i.e. pregnancy, age, etc.).
- If you have been fired with just cause.
- If you have been laid off. Note that a lay off is when an employer cuts back or stops the employee’s work without ending their employment. It does not mean an employee has been permanently let go.
- If you have applied for employment insurance, but have been denied.
- If you have been asked to sign an employment contract that includes a termination clause or a restrictive covenant, including non-solicitation and non-compete concerns. Certain portions of employment contracts can severely limit your rights after you leave an employer. Speaking with an employment lawyer in these circumstances could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you stayed at the same employer for your whole career.
- If you have been offered equity (i.e. stocks, RSUs, stock options, etc.) as a significant portion of your earnings.
- If you are an executive and have questions regarding executive compensation in general, including insurance, tax and equity issues.
- If you have been asked to sign a new employment contract.
- If you have been disciplined, or put on a performance improvement plan (“PIP”) and are concerned your job is in jeopardy.
- If you have not been paid your usual salary, benefits or promised equity on time.
- If your compensation has been unilaterally altered by your employer.
- If your employment contract has been breached in any way.
- If you are considering quitting your employment because of your employer’s apparently unlawful conduct (i.e. constructive dismissal).
- If you have been harassed by anyone employed by the employer or by the employer him or herself.
- If you have been unfairly accused, investigated or questioned of serious wrongdoing.
- If the work environment is so toxic it is unreasonable for you to attend work.
- If you believe you may have been discriminated against in any way.
- If you have applied for disability benefits, but have been rejected by your employer or insurer.
- If you have questions about disability insurance.
- If you have a disability, but it has not been accommodated by your employer as per your doctor’s orders.
- If you have been given a drug or alcohol test.
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 employment 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 an employment lawyer.