The Employment Law Show

COVID-19 Workplace Red Flags | Employment Law Show TV – S5 E5

Episode Summary

COVID-19 WORKPLACE RED FLAGS, terminated while on medical leave, severance after a temporary layoff, and more on Season 5 Episode 5 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 and British Columbia, on the only employment law show on both TV and radio in Canada.

Episode Notes

No workplace policies concerning health and safety

My employer has not put into place any guidelines for COVID-19 and workplace safety. I feel unsafe about going to work.

Employees have the right to work in a safe environment. Employers have to implement health and safety guidelines by public health. An employee should address concerns in writing to their employer.

Has COVID-19 changed workplace safety
Your right to refuse unsafe work

Segment starts at 2:59

Severance after a temporary layoff

I have been recalled from a temporary layoff but if business doesn’t improve, I’ll be put on a layoff again. If my layoff becomes permanent, how much severance am I owed?

If an employee has been placed on a temporary layoff they have a right to treat the layoff as a termination. An employer is allowed to let an employee go as long as severance is paid. Severance calculations are determined by the law and not by an employer.

Segment starts at 6:07

Termination clause in an employment contract

I was fired today from a technical role at a mid-sized company. I’m 57 and worked there for 28 years. My employer has offered 12 months of severance. They claim they are being extremely generous since the termination clause in my contract says I’m actually owed much less. Should I accept?

Employers can have agreements that limit the severance available to employees. The vast majority of agreements that include termination clauses are not enforceable. Contacting an employment lawyer is vital after being offered severance by an employer.

Segment starts at 9:25

COVID-19 Workplace Red Flags

1️⃣ Your employer brought you back from a temporary layoff and put you on a 6-month probation period

Employers do not technically have a right to layoff an employee temporarily. Extending probation beyond three months is usually meaningless. An employee in writing should explain why probation is not necessary.

Segment starts at 14:17

2️⃣ Your employer is cutting your pay due to COVID-19

If more than ten percent, an employer does not have a right to reduce pay. If there is a severe reduction, an employee can treat the reduction as constructive dismissal.

Segment starts at 16:26

3️⃣ Your employer is cutting staff and giving you their workload

This is still considered a change in terms of employment and can imply that more duties and tasks can be added on at a later date.

Segment starts at 17:50

4️⃣ Your employer refuses to let you take a medical leave because they don’t think you are truly ill

Ultimately a doctor decides if a patient is sick and is unable to work. If an employer ignores a doctor’s note it can potentially be a human rights violation.

Segment starts at 19:18

5️⃣ Your contract isn’t being renewed due to the slowdown in business

If an employee has signed several contracts over the years, they are eventually considered a regular indefinite employee. If a contract has expired and an employee continues to work for that employer, they are not considered an employee and are owed severance.

Segment starts at 20:26

Federal and provincial severance pay

What is the difference between federal and provincial severance pay for employees? A friend of mine was just fired after 17 years with a company and was given 2 days per year worked.

There is a misconception that federally regulated employees do not receive as much severance as a provincially regulated employee. The factors for severance calculation are age, years of employment, and position.

Segment starts at 23:13

Letting an employee go on Long-term Disability

I’m on long-term disability. My doctor says I’m not ready to return to work, but I know that LTD won’t last long, and my employer only has to hold my job for a few months. Can my employer just let me go if I can’t return to work?

An employee can be off for as long as needed if they are on medical leave and have their doctor’s support.  An employer who terminates an employee due to a medical leave can potentially be in danger of violating human rights.

Segment starts at 25:38

NEXT EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E6 – Working From Home and What You Need to Know

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Employment Law Show S5 E4 – Dismissal for Cause in Canada

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