The Employment Law Show

5 Things employees should know when starting a job | Employment Law Show TV – S8 E17

Episode Summary

5 THINGS EMPLOYEES SHOULD KNOW WHEN STARTING A JOB, a Weekly Schedule Change, Sick Leave Denied and more on Season 8 Episode 17 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 about employment law in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

Let go “for cause” due to lateness

After 5 years at my current employer, I moved and my commute increased. I was late a couple of times to work. This happened a few times and I was eventually let go “for cause”. Do I have any right to fight this?

  • Terminations “for cause”: Employers often mistakenly terminate employees “for cause”. It is typically difficult to terminate an employee for cause as employers must prove an employee has exhibited serious misconduct and not simple mistakes or errors.  Progressive disciplinary action must also be proven before a justifiable termination.

Let go after being recruited by the new employer

My husband was recently let go from his job. He’s 55, a middle manager and he was recruited to this job by his former employer. He’s been offered a few weeks only of severance pay. Is this normal?

  • Induced employment severance: Short-service employees who were recruited by a new employer could be owed enhanced severance if let go. The previous years of service must be taken into consideration. Severance should be based on an employee’s age, their position and years of service. All elements of compensation must be included in a severance package.

Fired after filing harassment complaints

What happens if you are harassed during your probation period? I reported the incidents of harassment to my employer, but they did not properly investigate and instead opted to fire me.

  • Workplace harassment: Employers must investigate and resolve all harassment complaints brought forth by staff. Employees have a right to work in a safe and harassment-free workplace.
  • Probation periods: Employees are not automatically on a probation period at the start of new employment. A probation period must be consented to in an employment contract. Probation cannot be used as an excuse to dismiss complaints of bullying.

Childcare accommodations refused

At the start of my employment, I informed my employer I would need an adjusted schedule due to childcare obligations. This was an agreed term, but a year later I’ve been told this will lead to a major reduction in pay.

  • Obligation to accommodate: Employers must accommodate employees under the protection of family status. This means that employers cannot penalize employees with childcare obligations. A failure to adapt can be considered a human rights violation.

5 Things employees should know when starting a new job

  • Need to have an employment contract: Employees do not have to have a written employment contract when starting a new job. If given one, it is in an employee’s best interest to review a contract with an employment lawyer.  
  • Put on a Performance Improvement Plan: Employees who do not believe in a performance review or criticism can protest their dissent in writing. This can include being placed on a performance improvement plan they believe is unfair.
  • Accept major and unwanted changes to your job: Employees do not have to accept major and unwanted changes imposed by their employers. This is considered a breach of contract and can be treated as a constructive dismissal.
  • Let go from your job for almost any reason: Employees can be let go from their job for any reason, as long as it is not discriminatory, and are given adequate severance pay.
  • Recruited away from another company: Employees who have been recruited away from another company should have their previous years of service acknowledged if they are let go. This can mean a substantial difference in severance pay.

Dramatic change to the weekly schedule

I am currently employed as a full-time receptionist for a local group home. I was hired five years ago for the position with a regular Monday to Friday shift. My employer is now advising me my new hours will include weekend shifts. Do I have any leverage, or can I resign due to this change?

  • Changes imposed by your employer: Employers cannot impose major changes to the terms of an employee’s position without their consent. A major change can be a dramatic shift in a work schedule. Employees can treat an imposed change as a constructive dismissal and pursue severance.

Sick leave is considered job abandonment

Can my employer say I resigned even if I did not do so? After calling in sick for a week, and providing a doctor’s note for medical leave, a supervisor called to inform me this was considered job abandonment and refused to answer any of my questions.

  • Rights to take sick leave: Employees cannot be penalized or terminated by their employers due to an illness or medical condition. Employees should provide their employers with a doctor’s note stating they are unable to work. A medical leave is considered a protected leave. Employers could face additional legal consequences for terminating employees due to illness.

Employment Rights

  • Permanently replaced if on Mat Leave: Employees cannot be permanently replaced while on maternity or parental leave. Employees must be able to return to the same position and job they had before taking leave.
  • Refuse to work an overtime shift: Employees generally can refuse to work overtime, unless they agree to do so in an employment contract.
  • Denied long-term disability benefits by your insurer: Employees must only return to work from long-term disability leave with the support of their treating doctors. Employers cannot terminate an employee if their disability benefits are cut off by an insurer.
  • Resign/retire if pressured: Employers must only retire or resign if it is completely voluntary. A forced resignation is considered a termination of employment.
  • Obligated to inform employees if they are being monitored: Employees who are being monitored in a private workspace should be notified.
  • Let go “for cause” for lying to their employer: Generally, it is difficult to terminate an employee “for cause”. A termination for cause can only be justified if an employee has exhibited serious misconduct.
  • Provide notice before letting an employee go: Employers can provide notice to employees before termination or severance in lieu of notice.

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Employment Law Show S8 E16 – Common myths about severance packages

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