The Employment Law Show

5 Common Questions about a Return to Work for Employees | Employment Law Show TV – S5 E28

Episode Summary

5 COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT A RETURN TO WORK FOR EMPLOYEES, employment contracts, accommodations, and more on Season 5 Episode 28 of the Employment Law Show with employment lawyer Lior Samfiru, Partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Watch above to discover your workplace rights and learn everything you need to know about employment law in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

Options for employees on a temporary layoff

I’ve been on a layoff since last year due to COVID-19 and my business was impacted. I contacted my employer and they have no idea when they will be bringing me back. What do I do?

Many employees across Canada were placed on a temporary layoff at the start of the pandemic and have yet to be recalled to work. While employees do have the option of remaining on a layoff, they can choose to treat it as a termination.

Segment starts at 2:07

CALL: Limitations to severance after signing a contract

I signed a contract with the trucking company I work at that says they don’t owe me any severance if I am permanently laid off due to the loss of a client. Would I not be owed a severance package? I’ve been there for 24 years.

It is important to look closely into the terms of the contract with an employment lawyer before signing an agreement. Like many truck drivers, in this situation, an individual could be misclassified as an independent contractor when they are in fact an employee. Employees are entitled to their full severance as well as other rights that would not be available to independent contractors. Truck drivers should get severance if they lose their job.

Segment starts at 5:18

What to look for in an employment agreement

I’ve been asked to sign an employment contract as part of a job with a new company. What are some of the most important things I should look for in an employment agreement?

Employment agreements are vital in illuminating an employee’s rights, such as terms that can change the hours and compensation of an employee. Employment contracts also could include limitations to severance in the future as well as non-competition clauses. It is important to remember that the terms in a contract can be negotiated.

Segment starts at 8:44

5 Common Questions about a Return to Work for Employees:

1️⃣ What happens if I am brought back to a different job?

Employers can make minor changes to the terms of an employee’s job. Significant changes to employment such as a demotion or a less favourable position are not permitted and employees do not have to accept these changes.

Segment starts at 12:59

2️⃣ Can my employer lower my pay?

Employers are not permitted to reduce an employee’s compensation significantly. A major reduction in pay can lead to a constructive dismissal. Employees who accept an initial pay cut have given their employers permission to do so again at a later date.

Segment starts at 14:32

3️⃣ Can I choose to work from home?

Employees who have been recalled to work by their employer generally have to return. Employees who have a medical condition or special circumstances can communicate their concerns with their employer in order to implement possible accommodations. Employees who simply refuse to return to the workplace and continue working remotely can be considered to have abandoned their jobs.

Learn More
Returning to the office post-pandemic

Segment starts at 16:55

4️⃣ What happens if I am not called back to work?

Employers do not have to recall employees back to the workplace and instead terminate employment. Termination without cause however entails a proper severance package must be paid to former employees.

Segment starts at 18:20

5️⃣ Can my employer require me to get a vaccination before returning to the workplace?

Employers currently are unable to enforce or mandate vaccines in the workplace. In some limited circumstances, such as a long-term care facility, employers might be able to implement mandatory vaccinations.

Watch to Learn More
Lior Samfiru on Global News to discuss COVID-19 Vaccines

Segment starts at 19:39

CALL: An employee was replaced after a return from medical leave

I discovered that I had diabetes after collapsing at work and spending 6 weeks in hospital. During this time, somebody was brought on to take my job. When I tried to return to work, my employer said they had no projects for me.

Employees who are cleared medically to be able to return to work, their employers cannot decide they are unfit for work and must find work for them. Employers who fail to do so are wrongfully dismissing their employees as well as committing a human rights violation. Employees cannot be penalized for a medical condition or disability.

Segment starts at 20:42

CALL: Severance after less than a year of work

As per my contract, I was only able to work 4 days per week due to medical reasons. When I refused to move to a 5-day schedule at my boss’ request, he fired me. Am I owed severance if I only worked there less than a year?

Employers are permitted to let an employee go for whatever reason as long as an adequate amount of severance is given. Short-service employees are actually owed significantly more severance than many are aware of and are often wrongfully dismissed.

Segment starts at 24:20

Responding to an employer outside work hours

Can my employer force me to respond to work outside my normal hours?

Employees who have a regular set schedule do not have to respond or work outside of the agreed-upon hours. Employers cannot expect employees to be on call outside of the previously agreed-upon time period unless the terms were agreed to in a contract. Employers can decide to let an employee go for not responding however they cannot terminate the employee go for cause. Employees should remember that initially agreeing to work longer hours can be considered implied consent.

Learn More
Employee’s Right to Disconnect

Segment starts at 26:55

NEXT EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E29 – The Truth about Independent Contractors

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E27 – What your friends & family need to know about employment rights

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