Employment Law

Employment lawyer on employees given notice to return to the office

A headshot of Canadian employment lawyer Lluc Cerda next to the logos for Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and radio station 640 Toronto.

Interview Summary

While some employees are ready for a return to normalcy, many have embraced working from home during the pandemic. Companies like Candu Energy Inc. have given their staff 2 days to notice that they would be returning to the office. What can employees who wish for a more flexible work arrangement do? Are employers obligated to provide more notice?

Lluc Cerda, an employment lawyer and Senior Associate at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP joins 640 Toronto with Rubina Ahmed-Haq to answer this question and more.

Interview Notes

  • Short notice is given by employers to return to the office: Employers have to be reasonable in their requests and 2 days’ notice for many will not be reasonable. Employers will have to listen to their employees who could have other responsibilities.
  • Employees requesting more time from employers: Employees might need certain rights to be accommodated and are protected under family status. Employees who have childcare obligations or who care for other family members must be given a reasonable amount of time to find accommodations and care. The Infectious Disease Emergency Leave also offers protected leave for those who are caring for individuals with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms and cannot be penalized or terminated by their employers.
  • Preparing to return to the office after working from home: For the majority of employees currently working from home, the arrangement was purely due to the pandemic. Employers are generally in a position to require employees to return to the office once public health and safety restrictions were lifted. Employees who have needs accommodated must communicate with their employers and cannot assume that their employers are aware of their situation.

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