There are many reasons to call a lawyer for employment law. Any workplace law issue can be consulted upon with a lawyer for employment law, but the most important ones are as follows:
A lawyer for employment helps employees who have been terminated from work by reviewing their severance package and then negotiating or litigating for more severance if the employer did not offer enough severance. Whenever an employer fails to provide a reasonable severance amount, then it is a wrongful dismissal. A lawyer for employment who specializes in wrongful dismissal can assist with these issues.
A lawyer for employment law can calculate your severance entitlements and advise what steps to take next. But a great lawyer for employment law can work with you to get you what are owed using the fastest, most economical avenue possible.
Poisoned Work Environments
A lawyer for employment law helps employees who are being harassed at work or discriminated at work. Employees in Ontario have a right to be free from harassment and discrimination. The common law, the Human Rights Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act prohibit employers from harassing their employees or fostering an environment where harassment takes place. At the same time, the Human Rights Code prohibits employers or other employees from treating an employee differently because of the following protected grounds:
- Ancestry, colour, race
- Ethnic origin
- Place of origin
- Family status
- Marital status (including single status)
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Record of offences
- Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation.
In addition, a lawyer for employment law can advise on performance improvement plans, discipline and suspensions. For example, a lawyer for employment law can argue that a suspended employee is actually constructively dismissed, and seek pay in lieu of reasonable notice for the employee. Suspensions are a breach of the employment contract unless the employment contract specifically contains a provision for such suspensions. A portion of my colleague Andrew Monkhouse’s article on the consequences of suspensions for employers is repeated here:
The Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Cabiakman v. Industrial Alliance Life Insurance Co.  3 S.C.R. 195, 2004 SCC 55, states that the following are required when placing an employee on administrative suspension:
The suspension must be necessary to protect the legitimate business interest; The employer must be acting in good faith; The suspension must be for a relatively short time period for a fixed term; and other than in exceptional circumstances, the suspension must be paid
If an employee is placed on an unpaid suspension for administrative reasons where the employer is refusing to pay the employee, the employee is able to refuse the suspension and this would not be construed as a resignation but rather a constructive dismissal.https://canliiconnects.org/en/commentaries/46624
Also, a lawyer for employment law can advise individuals about the employment contract they are being offered by a potential employer. Click to read why you should consider getting a lawyer for employment to review your proposed employment contract.
Executives should consider hiring a lawyer for employment law to consult on executive compensation generally, such as the payment / vesting of equity, tax and regulatory concerns, average pay, restrictive covenants, insurance, M&A planning and fringe benefits.
Changes to Employment
Additionally, a lawyer for employment law can answer questions about changes to employment proposed by the employer. For instance, must an employee accept a move to a different city? Other repeated examples include:
- Changes to benefits plan
- Reductions in salary
- Changes bonus plan
- Change in hierarchy
- Loss of power
- New duties
A lawyer for employment law will be able to tell if the employer has a right to make the proposed changes and, if not, what the employee should do in the face of such proposals. Often times, the issue is whether the employer provided the employee enough notice of the proposed change. Classically, a lawyer for employment can answer whether the employee may claim constructive dismissal if the changes are drastic enough.
Lastly, a lawyer for employment can advise on the law of quitting your job. Many issues come up at resignation time, including how much notice to give, taking back a resignation, and quitting because of constructive dismissal. A lawyer for employment will advise that a constructive dismissal happens when an employee is not let go, but because of the employer’s conduct the employee gets to resign and receive a severance package as if they were let go. This mostly happens when an employer creates a situation for the employee that is different from the original employment relationship or if the employment agreement was breached, such as missed payments or if the employer fostered a poisoned work environment. Read about some of the different examples of constructive dismissal.
Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.