As an employee, you have many rights both in common law and under various statutes and regulations. In addition, you may have other rights and privileges that apply to you as a result of your particular employer’s policy, procedures and pension and/or benefit plans. We can help you understand your various rights.
With the introduction of Bill 161, Bullying and Harassment have become hot topics. This legislation was drafted to protect employees from other employees and from employer bullying tactics. It applies to both unionized and non-unionized employees. We can help you know you rights. Our team can help you lessen the potential for bullying and harassment. We can help you interpret your anti-bullying and harassment policies and procedures, conduct investigations and provide advice to you during any discipline process. We always assess each case on its merits and will help guide you through the process of raising or being part of a bullying or harassment claim.
Discipline issues and hearings can be a very stressful time for an employee, whether you are the target of such investigation, you are the supervisor for that person, or if you are a witness for another employee. We can help ensure the process is fair and equitable. We work with you to ensure that your employer acts in accordance with the common law, statutes, and their policies and procedures.
We work hard for you to ensure the discipline process is proper and minimizes the damage to you and/or your reputation. We also work with you on any performance management plans you are subjected to by your employer and will help you achieve the results you are looking for.
In both a unionized and non-unionized environment, the right to be free from discrimination at work arises from statute law. This includes freedoms given to all Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as codified under the Ontario Human Rights Code and its regulations, as well as jurisprudence (decided cases at the tribunal and in court). The code states that you cannot discriminate against someone on the basis of:
Race-related grounds include: ethnic origin, colour and place of origin. In some instances, it may also include citizenship and ancestry.
Disability includes temporary and permanent disabilities, being in receipt of Workers Safety and Insurance Benefits in the past or at present, learning disabilities, visible, invisible and perceived disabilities.
Age: for housing, you have to be 18 unless you are no longer under parental control.
Creed includes religions and beliefs.
Sex includes pregnancy and gender, that is, persons who are bisexual, transgenderists, trans-sexual or inter-sexed.
Sexual orientation includes persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual.
Family status is the status of being in a parent child relationship.
Marital status includes being single, married, widowed, co-habitation and same-sex marriages.
Receipt of social assistance applies only to housing accommodation and includes for example, being in receipt of government-funded subsidies and supportive housing.
Record of offences includes provincial offences such as under the Highway Traffic Act, and federal offences for which a pardon has been granted.
On June 19, 2012, two new grounds were added to the Code, “gender identity” and “gender expression”. There is overlap between the two grounds and their precise meaning is still being explored.
This is a complex area of employment & labour law. If you feel you have been discriminated against at work, we will assess your claim and help you determine if you have the grounds for, and would like to proceed with, a claim to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. We can represent you and will guide you through the process to ensure that you are fully informed throughout.
Whether acting for employees, agency workers, freelance workers, consultants, partners or directors, we always work to achieve favourable conclusions in discrimination cases.
We can assist with your parental and maternity rights issues and questions. We can guide you through the pertinent legislation and let you know if your parental and maternity rights have not been given proper regard by your employer. We cab help protect you from discrimination and dismissal.
We will take an active and practical approach to resolving matters and advancing your interests. We favour resolving cases quickly and achieving better working conditions, or where necessary, favourable exit packages.
As an employee, it is important that you are getting the terms you want from your employment contract and that the contract contains nothing unfavourable. Our qualified employment law solicitors will make sure you get the best deal.
If you feel your employer has not carried out the duties and obligations you have detailed in your employment contract, they may be in breach of contract. You should seek the advice of an employment lawyer to determine if your rights have been infringed, and/or if your contract has been breached. We can assist you in that determination as well as help you obtain any rememdies due as a result of the breach by your employer. We work to ensure your rights under contract are upheld. This may be on fundamental terms such as salary or bonus pay provisions.
We work with and take your guidance on your desired outcome. Many of our clients wish to remain employed with the employer but want their rights upheld. A professional and courteous response to issues such as this are our mainstay. We will help you clarify issues with your employer, while maintaining a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship between you and your employer.
Regardless of whether it is you or your employer that wishes to enter into an employment agreement / contract, we can assist you in drafting and negotiation of the agreement. We can provide the expert assistance that will help you secure the conditions you desire.
We use an expert eye to review your new or existing employment agreement / contract. We will help you understand it fully and ensure the wrding is consistent both with your understand, but also with contemporary employment agreement / contract jurisprudence. Employment agreements / contracts routinely involve complicated aspects of the law such as non-compete clauses, incentive plans and share ownership schemes. These agreements / contracts should be reviewed by an expert, especially if your personal situation or the financial health or structure of your employer changes.
We understand just how devastating termination can be for employees. The financial, psychological and health effects of a termination can be profound. We have extensive experience in negotiating fair and reasonable exit packages for employees. We will meticulously set out your case, actively pursue your rights, and work with you to achieve a favourable settlement.
We will guide you through the Termination process and/or will assist in negotiating an exit package, ensuring that you your future employment search efforts are not hampered. We will help to reach agreement on an acceptable financial and/or benefit payment.
Constructive dismissal can occur when an employee resigns or leaves his/her employment a result of the employer creating a hostile environment, making fundamental changes to an employment contract (implied or actual), or when a number of factors can reasonably lead the employee to conclude that the employer has effectively dismissed them as a result of the employer’s conduct. Since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is in effect, a termination.
A claim for constructive dismissal can lead to the employee's obligations ending and the employee acquiring the right to make claims against the employer.
The employee may resign over a single serious incident or over a pattern of incidents. Generally, the employee must have resigned as soon as practicable after the incident.
We routinely suggest to our clients that they contact us as soon as possible if an employee resigns, regardless of the reason provided. A quick call to us to help you assess the situation can greatly diminish the risks of further complications or proceedings.
Termination of an employee is a serious legal action and should not be taken lightly. Legal advice should be sought whenever you have had a threat of termination or have been terminated. Your termination (without cause) will normally be accompanied by a termination agreement / package. We are experts in drafting and negotiating termination agreements. These agreements are necessarily to attempt to avoid protracted dismissal claims. We can help protect you if you have been terminated. We work with your employer has at least met statutory minimums for termination and/or notice of termination, common law notice periods, and that you are being treated fairly and properly throughout the process.
A wrongful dismissal claim is most often raised by an employee where they feel they have been terminated for improper cause, or where the notice provided (or financial package) does not been with statutory and common law minimums. We assist in protecting your business against wrongful dismissal claims made by employees.
We will consider your unfair dismissal claim in detail, closely examining the conduct of your employer, and advise you on whether you have a good case.
We will always be open, honest and clear about your relative chance of success. We will be careful not to give you false hope, where none is warranted. Where the dismissal has been improper, or where notice of dismissal does not meet the common law and statutory obligations of your employer, we can ensure you are properly represented during negotiations or at a hearing to achieve best results possible.
We know the law, know the most recent jurisprudence, and can help you ensure that you are in the best position, should your employer not meet its legal obligations.
Should you wish to bring a wrongful dismissal claim, we will ensure that you are fully aware of the potential outcomes, cost and other consequences and benefits of doing so.
We will make sure that you follow the correct procedures, submit the relevant documentation at the appropriate times, and are represented expertly. From beginning to end, we will pursue the best possible result for you.
Our day-to-day HR support service can protect your business and provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have access to experienced employment law advice.
We have been counsel to very large corporations as well as to businesses with just one or a few employees.
Absenteeism is not only disruptive to your workplace, but the expense of replacement workers, lost productivity and general workplace disruption can be crippling. Regardless of whether the absenteeism is ad hoc or chronic, we can assist you in properly managing the issue on a case-by-case basis. An employer is bound by law to treat employees fairly and supportively. We will help your business or HR team to manage the dichotomous position of treating employees with due care in what might be a troubling time for personal or health reasons, while maintaining your right to properly manage your workforce and product/service.
We have a proven track record in helping businesses successfully navigate absenteeism issues. We can help save you money and help you avoid legal claims.
We often assist our employer clients in defending an employment claim. During what can be a complicated legal process, we will be there for you every step of the way.
We will make sure you follow the correct procedures and that you are in the strongest possible position to get a favourable result.
We routinely assist with disciplinary issues. We ensure the process is handled formally, openly and according to your disciplinary policy and pertinent regulations.
We can be with you every step of the way, or on an as-needed basis, depending upon the complexity of the situation and your needs. We assist in helping you ensure firm but fair treatment throughout the disciplinary process.
We attempt to have our clients contact us as early in the grievance process as possible. This allows us to provide timely and efficient (and often less costly) advice on the processing of what can be a damaging and complicated process. We can assist you in following the proper procedure, determining if there is any substance to the complaint and, if so, how to best manage the process and decisions of your committee. Our hope is to provide your business with effective and sound advice to ensure you are minimizing any damaging outcome (be it work-related or relationship-related) and to attempt to minimize further claims.
We will ensure that employee grievances are dealt with as quickly as possible, minimizing the risk to your business, including the possibility of unfair dismissal, victimisation and other claims.
We believe that prevention is the best method to avoid issues with your employees and/bargaining group. Training your managers in employment law protects your business and gives them the freedom to go about their jobs confidently.
We can assist you to train your directors, managers, supervisors or employees on the cavalcade of employment law, health and safety and human rights compliance issues. We assist with spot audits from the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Transportation and other regulatory bodies. We can include roleplaying, case studies and mock trials, in order to keep your supervisory staff and employees up to date with the law and regulations. Our goal is to have your business avoid potentially embarrassing, incredibly expensive, and time-consuming proceedings.
We also assist with HR functions for some of our smaller clients without in-house human resource experience. We assist will all manner of HR issues from performance reviews to benefit coverage to termination.
There are circumstances under which an employer finds itself in a position where it would like to alter an existing contractual relationship with an employee. We can help make changes to employee contracts in a manner designed to lessen the potential claims an employee may have as a result of the change.
Altering certain key terms in an employment contract / agreement (eg: holiday, pay, location of work, job title, compensation, etc.) needs employee agreement. However, it may be possible to unilaterally change some of these or other terms and still limit exposure. We will help protect your business.
As an employer, it is essential that you have the right documentation in place from the beginning of your relationship with your employees. It provides a strong platform on which to grow. Expertly drafted contracts and polices/procedures will not only protect your business, but will help you manage absenteeism and motivate staff on a daily basis.
An expertly drafted employment contract protects your business. It also gives you the flexibility to maintain a dynamic workplace, from the way people work, to the benefits and incentives that can boost your bottom line.
We assist you by providing new contracts or agreements that offer the best protection. We tailor each agreement to meet your specific requirements. Our contracts will be fully up to date and as legally watertight as possible.
Employment law, health & safety, and human rights issues are constantly in flux. As a result, employment contracts and agreements should be similarly consistently reviewed. By reviewing your contracts, we can identify any shortcomings and help protect you from any potentially disruptive and expensive mistakes.
Our qualified team can quickly review your documents and let you know what changes need to be made.
A staff policy and procedure manual can be as important as an employment contract. By making your supervisory team and your employees clear about your expectations, benefits and responsibilities, you protect your employees and your business.
We have drafted and/or reviewed a significant number of policies and procedures covering all aspects of work, from disciplinary proceedings, grievances, equal opportunities and data protection to dress code, social media, outside interests and more.
Policies and procedures supplement and can enhance employment agreements. They not only set out clear standards of behaviour for employees, they may, in certain circumstances, be required by law. They can also help the employer avoid some legal liabilities.
Abseentism is not only disruptive to your workplace, but the expense of replacement workers, lost productivity and general workplace disruption can be crippling. Regardless of whether the absenteeism is ad hoc or chronic, we can assist you in properly managing on a case by case basis. An employer is bound by law to treat employees fairly and supportively. We will help your business or HR team to manage the dichotomous position of treating employees with due care in what might be a troubling time for personal or health reasons, while maintaining your right to properly manage your workforce and product/service.
We have a proven track record in helping business successfully navigate absenteeism issues. We can help save you money and help you avoid legal claims.
Discipline issues can often be unpleasant, awkward and difficult to navigate. We can help you tackle disciplinary problems with confidence. We will make sure that the process is handled formally, openly and according to your policy and current legislation.
We will ensure that you follow all the correct procedures and that you can prove fair and reasonable treatment throughout the disciplinary process.
Union grievances are disruptive and have a tendency to negatively affect employee-employer relations. We can help you ascertain if there is any substance to the complaint and, if so, how to best manage the process.
As counsel to large and small employers, we fully understand that management truly wish for grievances to be addressed and concluded as quickly as possible, minimising the risk to your business of related wrongful dismissal, harassment or discrimination claims.
Mediation can be a very effective tool to manage employee relations and still preserve employee-employer relations. However, mediation may not be right tool for that particular issue. We can help you determine if you have the right case to be successful at mediation. We will advise on whether mediation is appropriate and, if so, help you prepare a persuasive case that will put you in the best position to achieve a favourable result.
Poor performance or under performance commonly arise from underlying employee-employer relations. We can assist in helping you determine the root cause of the poor performance and work with you to design a performance management plan that will assist the employee to have a positive impact on your opearations. If you have been unsuccessful managing poor performance, we can assist with next steps, up to and including termination.
Employees in both a unionized and non-unionized environment should be fully and properly trained in order to lessen a myriad of issues. Proper training not only helps the employee be more productive and safe, but also assists the Employer with defending certain claims with respect to health and safety, bullying, harassment, discrimination, etc. We believe that prevention through training is key. Training your managers in employment law protects your business and gives them the freedom to go about their jobs confidently.
We are able to consult on your training courses to your management team or front line workers. If you are unable to do so, we also offer training directly. We can offer roleplaying, case studies and mock trials. We have found that an interactive experience keeps all levels of staff up to date with regulations and helps your business avoid costly disputes and hearings.
A Management – Union relationship is an incredibly fluid and important one. A strong Union and a confident Management can work side by side to make wonderful things happen. If the relationship on either side breaks down, the results can be nothing short of disastrous. As former counsel to one of the largest union groups in Canada, we understand union perspectives. We know what motivates them and what frustrations they find in management behaviours and policies. We can help you have a successful and productive relationship with various unions. We have extensive experience in this area.
We can help your business deal with strike action and union recognition claims, and can liaise and negotiate directly with trade unions in cases of grievances and disputes.