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Employment law deals with all non-union employment contracts. These are individual employment contracts affecting the employment relationship. Few employment contracts are written and even those that are written are often incomplete.
For all employment contracts whether written or not, minimum terms of employment are set out in legislation such as the provincial Employment Standards Act or the federal Canada Labour Code. Which authority applies to your employment contact depends on whether your employment is a matter of provincial jurisdiction or federal jurisdiction. Most employment contracts are governed by provincial law, but some are governed by federal law. Banks and inter-provincial trucking are for instance federal.
It's important you have legal advice about your employment and early on because there are strict time considerations too numerous and complex to set out here. For instance, if your employment is in the federal jurisdiction, you may apply for reinstatement of employment in the case of termination but you must do so within 90 days.
Reinstatement is generally not an option provincially unless there has been a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code, or a reprisal under other legislation such as Workplace Safety Insurance Act or Employment Standards Act. In any event, it is important you have legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer.
Generally, employment contracts may be terminated at any time but "reasonable notice" must be given. Employees need to have reasonable time to search for and find employment that is reasonably similar in pay, benefits and status to their current employment. As the Court of Appeal says, there is "no rule of thumb" for determining "reasonable notice" as it is a consideration of age of the employee, education, experience, training, availability of similar employment, years of service and other factors relevant to each case.
Often people think of this as "severance pay" but this is not technically accurate. There is a difference between "severance" and "notice" pay, for which legal advice is necessary. In a nutshell though, an employee who has had their employment terminated could be entitled to notice of a few months to many months. If working notice is not given, pay in lieu of notice must be given. This includes pay and benefits.
In some situations, employment may be terminated for "cause" without "reasonable notice" if "just cause" exists for immediate dismissal. An act of theft or fraud, assault, or some other serious act may give rise to "just cause". Often what an employer determines is "just cause" is in fact not "just cause" and an employee subject to termination "without notice" or for "just cause" should obtain legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer.
We urge that you seek legal advice if you are presented with an employment contract to sign, whether before or after commencing employment. We urge you to seek legal advice for any termination documents such as a Release. Employers have much more bargaining power than individual employees and too often exert their power to their own benefit at the cost of the employee. Know your rights, consult an experienced employment lawyer and do not be pressured by employers' unjustified time limits of signing documents. Those documents are often unfair and unreasonable but could be enforced even though they strip employees of entitlements.
Your employer may not have fired you but may have made or allowed conditions in the workplace to become so intolerable that you feel forced to resign. This may be a "constructive dismissal" situation in which case you would have all the rights and entitlements as if it was a "wrongful dismissal".
However, "constructive dismissal" can be difficult to prove. We have experience proving this in Court and urge that you seek legal advice before taking any steps and certainly before resigning.
Other legislative authorities govern employment situations. We pride ourselves for acting for "the underdog" against the comparative strength of employers. We're here to help you.
Time limits are too numerous, variable and subject to legislative and regulatory change to list here. In short, its is imperative you obtain IMMEDIATE legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer.
All initial consultations are free and terms of retainer are negotiable thereafter.
1. How do I pay? Most clients prefer contingency fee which means the client pays only if and when there is recovery of compensation.
2. Do I pay if no recovery? No
We know the law can sometimes be overwhelming. Jeff and his team are dedicated to providing you help in language that you can understand. We work for you. Jeff will give advice about your rights and options, and you give instructions.
The first step is for us to work with you to assess your case and inform you of your rights, from there charting the course forward.
Contact us for a free phone consultation. Let us help you figure out what your best next steps are. The sooner you have a plan of action in your matter, the better your chances of taking the correct steps to get the results you want.
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