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Employees

What is Employment Law in Canada?

Employment Law in Canada consists of statute and common law (case law) that relates to non-unionized employees, independent contractors and dependent contractors. Employment Law applies to all non-unionized employers in all sectors.

Should you have a lawyer review a new Employment Agreement or Offer of Employment before you start a new job?

Yes. Most employment contracts received prior to starting employment, contain clauses that restrict employees’ rights and remedies at common law. Now, many employment contracts require COVID-19 vaccinations as a term of employment. Clauses to watch for including probation, lay-off, changes in terms and conditions, constructive dismissal, termination of employment, non-solicitation and non-competition, disability and a change of location of your workplace. The clauses referring to these issues may or may not be enforceable. You want to know what they say and whether they will be a problem for you. The time to have an employment agreement or offer letter reviewed and possibly re-negotiated, is BEFORE you sign it.

Your current employer wants you to sign a revised Employment Agreement. Should you have it reviewed by a lawyer?

Since COVID19 and since the 2020 Ontario case of Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. which altered the landscape concerning termination clauses, some employers want their existing employees to sign new or amended Employment Agreements. This is a situation that requires a careful review by a lawyer. There are likely provisions in the new or amended Agreement, that are not favorable to you. Please call me as soon as you are being asked to sign a new Employment Agreement.

You are being harassed at the workplace. What can you do about it?

The most important thing to do initially, is make an appointment with me to obtain expert advice. Your employer does not need to know that you consulted me.

I will determine whether you have a viable case of harassment and what your available remedies are including taking a stress leave for a time. It is critical to understand your rights, and your responsibilities and possible remedies as soon as harassment begins so that you can develop a winning strategy right from the start.

You asked your employer to conduct a workplace investigation but received no response. What can you do?

Pursuant to sections 32.0.1 to 32.0.8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario (OHSA), Ontario employers are required to conduct a workplace investigation where there are incidents of workplace harassment and/or violence. Workplace harassment and workplace violence are defined in section 1 of the OHSA (definition section).

If you have been the victim of workplace harassment or violence or sexual harassment, please contact me for a confidential consultation. Areas for discussion will include whether the comment or conduct you experienced, meets the definition of workplace harassment and/or violence, whether you want to claim constructive dismissal, how to force a workplace investigation, what an investigation should look like, whether you should take a medically prescribed leave of absence and how to document your case for later use in a lawsuit.

Where there is workplace harassment, please do not simply do nothing thinking it will go away. Call me as soon as possible to discuss.

You just received a negative or inaccurate Performance Review (PR) or a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). You think the company is setting you up for dismissal. What should you do?

Our Courts allow companies to assess and manage the employee’s skills and capabilities. PRs and PIPs, however, must be fair, truthful, and accurate and must review skills and responsibilities that were actually assigned to the employee. As soon as you receive a PR or a PIP that you believe is inaccurate or you sense that you are being set up for dismissal, please call me to discuss it. We will discuss your specific concerns and whether you should take the position of constructive dismissal. We will also discuss whether a rebuttal is the right thing to do in your case.

You are being discriminated against in the workplace. What can you do about it?

If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace, call me to arrange a consultation. We will review all the facts of your case and whether what is happening to you meets the legal definition of discrimination. From there, we will discuss whether you should launch a human rights complaint through either the Canadian Human Right Tribunal or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. An employee can also add a claim for damages for human rights through a lawsuit to the Courts. Whether that should be done is a matter of the whole situation and what the employee is trying to accomplish. I do not always suggest the most complicated and involved process. Instead, I recommend the most practical and achievable avenue for the employee.

You received a severance package. Should you have it reviewed by a lawyer?

The short answer is, YES! You have the right to have the package reviewed by an employment lawyer and you should. Not many severance packages are properly done. If you need extra time to have the offer reviewed, just ask the company. Then call me right away to schedule a consultation. We will discuss the package and your overall situation to determine whether you should take the severance being offered or ask for more and who should do the asking.

You were fired allegedly for cause and without an offer of severance. What should you do?

Employers who terminate employment without notice or pay in lieu, alleging cause, must prove it. Generally, it is very difficult to establish cause and most employers fail at proving cause. If you were let go without a severance package, please call me to discuss it. It may well turn out that you were entitled to severance.

Specific topics of concern for Employees

  • Unpaid leave or termination because of COVID-19 policies
  • Employment Agreement creation, review, re-negotiation
  • Probation period issues
  • Workplace Harassment
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Disability Accommodation issues
  • How to take a medical or stress leave
  • Termination during a stress leave
  • Termination during a maternity leave
  • Workplace Investigations
  • Performance Management issues
  • Lay-off
  • Constructive Dismissal
  • Termination of employment allegedly with Cause (no severance)
  • Termination of employment without Cause (with severance)
  • Re-negotiation of severance package
  • Non-competition and Non-solicitation covenants

To discuss your needs as an Employee, please call me at 905-257-7714.

Please fill out the form to begin a discussion with Leslie today:





Core Beliefs

I strive each day to live and work by one principle - treat others as I would want to be treated. In my practice, that translates into 4 key values:

I do what I say I will do and I am honest and transparent at all times with clients, staff, opposing counsel, the court and anyone else. I provide my clients with an honest assessment of their case. If I make a commitment to a client, I keep it. Integrity also means that my clients know before they retain me what my fee structure is. If a client appears unsure of whether or not to retain me or what to do, I tell them to go home and think about it first.

Integrity

Employees having difficulty at the workplace are often in considerable emotional distress when they arrive at my office. Employers can be as well. Employment issues involve human interactions, which necessarily involve emotions that sometimes need healing. I enjoy helping my employee clients think and feel differently about their situations. I also enjoy helping employers understand that their employees need to be treated with respect, dignity, kindness and fairness, no matter what is going on.

Compassion

I have an organized and logical mind that works like a trip hammer, especially in court. I can very quickly sort out the relevant facts and issues in order to resolve my client's cases efficiently. Excellence also means to approach matters with a large measure of practicality, always thinking about what is best for my client and their family and/or business. Finally, excellence also means behaving with civility. I have learned to be hard on the issues and soft on the people - a winning combination.

Excellence

I have also been blessed with discernment and intuition that allows me to often "know" what is really going on with my clients. Equally, my own life journey has led me through difficulties in personal relationships so I understand how upsetting a broken employment relationship is. My own struggles married with discernment and intuition allows me to treat my client holistically, not just legally. This is the thing that sets me apart from most other lawyers, so say my clients.

Wisdom